I walked to school with Dash this morning; possibly the first time I've brought him to school without Mabel, and therefore on foot. It was nice to chat uninterrupted - we get far too little one-to-one time these days. And I took the opportunity to talk to him about drugs.
Yes, he's five, and I don't think he's getting into bad company just yet. (Five-and-a-half today, actually.) But according to a notice that came home from school on Friday and I found this morning as I rooted for his lunchbox, this is Red Ribbon Week, and we will celebrate not taking drugs this week (I paraphrase) by wearing a team jersey on Monday (don't have one, Batman will have to do - Go Team Gotham!), crazy socks on Tuesday, something red on Wednesday, sweats on Thursday, and the costume you were going to wear anyway for the storybook parade, which is the school's "not Halloween" (I see through their cunning scheme) on Friday. How this helps beat drugs I'm not sure, and I really have no idea if the kindergarteners will be participating in anything about it, but I thought I should give him some warning in case someone comes along to tell the five-year-olds not to do drugs.
Seriously though, it's probably another of those things, like sex, and bullies, and religion, that you should mention to your children early and often, so that it's something we talk about at home, not something that's never mentioned and therefore (a) your parents have never heard of or (b) totally tabboo. And actually, the subject has come up before, earlier this year when a friend's husband was mugged and I was trying, with difficulty, to explain something about people's motivations for crime, to Dash.
The kids know about cigarettes and how they're bad for you but adults are allowed smoke them if they want to. I tried to extrapolate from there to illegal drugs, first mentioning other sorts of drugs that are fine, like medicine the doctor gives you to make you better. It went something like this:
Me: ... but there are other sorts of drugs that some people like to take because they make them feel good...
Dash: Oh yes, like an inahler.
Me: No, not like an inhaler. An inhaler for asthma?
Me: No, not that. These drugs make people feel good but they're bad for their bodies. And it's against the law to take them.
Me: So I don't think your teacher will talk to you about this at school, but just in case she does, I thought we should first.
Dash: Right. ... I saw a punknin!
... and that was that. Another parenting triumph.