Baby Ci…NO

6 Jun

As a child, I vividly remember my Mum buying me the occasionl doughnut at a shop called Doughnut Dan. We would watch through the window as it was made – the dough plopped out through a metal machine press into the hot oil, which transported the deep-fried dough on a conveyor belt until it met its sweet finale by being drenched in cinammon and sugar. In those days, there wasn’t icing, or animal shaped doughnuts, or lollies, or glazing. They were just hot and fresh. Delicious. This was a big treat. They probably cost 40c and I estimate we went about once a term, or four times a year. Last week, my toddler went to a cafe four times. Four times – in one week! Ridiculous.
 It was an unusual week. I took her twice, her Grandma once, and my husband once. However, each visit involved a ‘treat’ – a milkshake here, a gingerbread man there, and a couple of baby-cinos. But it made me wonder – are we spoiling her? Will she remember these occasions in the same special way I remember my doughnut expeditions with my Mum? What was a ‘treat’ for my little girl now seems to be becoming an expectation – Mummy gets a coffee, so toddler gets something too. In my defence, my little girl is a fussy eater and she’s a slip of a thing. So, when she asks to eat or drink something (anything) I usually say ‘yes’ because I want to encourage her as much as possible to try different things and put on weight. And – let’s face it – it’s fun to treat your kids, especially your first one when everything is a novelty. It’s only in the last couple of months that my daughter has realised she can actually ask for something in a cafe. Until recently, I don’t think it entered her head. Now she’s realised she can participte in the ordering process – and she’s taken to it quite well, thank you very much. Then there’s the bigger societal change. As a kid, cafes didn’t really exist to the extent they do now. Sure, there was the occasional coffee ‘lounge’ or quaint tea shoppe, but few people had heard of a capuccino and if you’d asked for a double-shot-decaf-latte, extra-hot-with a dash of hazelnut flavouring, the waitress would have looked at you like you were speaking another language. No-one had ever heard of a barista. Yes. Times have changed. You can’t walk ten feet without running into a bunch of milk crates posing as seats outside a cafe. Buying a coffee isn’t as big a deal as it was thirty years ago. And neither is buying a baby-cino, which to be fair, isn’t exactly a dietary disaster. A bit of frothed milk with a dusting of powdered chocolate is not exactly a deep friend mars bar. My little one doesn’t even eat the marshmallow on the side (crazy child doesn’t like them. Luckily, I do). But – the problem is that she has graduated from baby cinos to milk shakes, which are a bit disastrous because they’re three times the price, three times the size and they kill her appetite for the day meaning she misses out on the fruits, vegies and sandwiches that she should be eating. So today, I drew a line in the sand. I bought a coffee from a kiosk – and I bought my daughter – nothing. She asked for a milk-shake. I said ‘no’. She asked for a lollipop. I said ‘no’. I offered a compromise, saying she could have a baby-cino. She refused. So she got nothing. She wasn’t thrilled but there were no tantrums. She had a scoop of froth off my capuccino and was happy with that. I guess my hope is that by saying ‘no’ a bit more often that I will give my little girl the same vivid and positive memories that I had of being treated by my Mum. That she will realise a treat is a big deal, something special, and not something she can have every second day. And one day, I’ll introduce her to the delights of a hot, fresh cinammon doughnut. Now that will be a treat. For both of us.

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One Response to “Baby Ci…NO”

  1. Anonymous June 6, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    back in the day i am sure a BARISTA was the guy who represented you in court when you were bad.how times have changed.

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