About cake and teaching patience

Now that the boys have started new schools/kindergartens our daily routine has changed considerably. I work in the mornings, and then around lunchtime race to pick up Mikus from kindergarten. The other kids stay there until around 5pm, but we did not want to leave him there that long - mostly because he's only four, and I think it is important for Mik to have more time at home with us for a little while longer. This has proved to be a great step - because Mik and I are spending a lot more time together on our own than ever before. Usually, our interaction is mediated by input from Tiss, who tends to dominate, and as a result Mikus hasn't ever had that one-on-one attention the way Tiss did when he was little.

So, these days around lunchtime Mikus and I enjoy going home and playing lego pirates, or just doing the grocery shopping together, or chatting about things in general. The other day Mikus announced he wanted to go to a cafe for a "special something", and I agreed that we would go together the following day. Mik's choice was interesting, he insisted on going to "Istaba", which is a super hip art gallery/cafe where the chef is Latvia's equivalent to Jamie Oliver - has his own tv show, there's no set menu but you just tell the chef what you like to eat, etc. As you can imagine, the place is also pricey!

So the next day I raced to pick up Mikus, after having a work meeting over a coffee and cake - feeling slightly queasy from the sugar and lack of lunch. Mikus (with his infallible memory - he's an elephant) reminded me straight away about our cafe date, and we proceeded to "Istaba"... where we were informed that the kitchen was closed, and all they could offer us was cake. One type of cake - marzipan cake. So I ordered this, thinking Mikus would eat it and I would watch, on account of my queasiness . To wash it down we also ordered a mega-sized babychinno (for all you childless people, its cappucinno milk froth, sans coffee - just the warm milk).

Of course, you can imagine the rest of the story. Mik takes one bite of the hideously expensive cake (which was amazing - thin slices of ice cream layered with almond-flour biscuit, with a luscious icing of red soft marzipan) and scrunches his face up: "I don't like this!". Then takes a sip of the babychinno and shudders: "that's not nice milk!". I force a patient smile. "Come on dear, try one more bite, this cake is yummy!" But the kid is not to be convinced. I watch the slice of sweetness slowly melting on the plate in front of me. "Ok, I'll have to eat it then..." and I do. Offering every bite to Mikus before I force myself to eat it. Not that is wasn't good. Oh no, far from it. I was just caked-out from my morning meeting and the sugary treat did not sit well with my already swelling nausea. I decided to take a few sips of the milk as well. uuuurgh... Then Mikus starts getting upset. His special meal with mummy, and he has nothing to eat. So we compromise and order him an apple juice, the safest thing to order, and they bring it out. And I should have known.... no groovy alt-cafe like this one would just have the pour out of the tetra-pack apple juice, would they?! No, they've got to have the cloudy, organic-just-squeezed-by-a-local-farmer kind of juice (that costs 3 times more per glass than the regular juice)! Mikus' face falls. He takes a tentative sip - and the disappointment on his face is palpable. "It's sour!" he wails, and I take a deep breath to try and still my rising anger. "Don't worry sweetheart" I murmur, dumping sugar into the tall glass and stirring with the straw. Mikus takes another few sips and abandons the glass next to the half cold cup of milk froth and the rapidly dissolving ice-cream.

And at this point, I remembered that kids are about teaching adults to be patient. I had worked this out a long time ago, but had forgotten the wisdom somewhere along the way. Mikus is legendary for trying my patience in terms of refusing food, and my usual reaction would be to start muttering about spoilt children and starving kids in Africa etc, etc, but this time, somehow, I stopped myself. I sat back and thought about the beautiful food and the gorgeous surroundings we were in, the joy of my youngest son as we decided to eat together, his excitement as we came in and picked where to sit, and the fact that the cake and the milk and the juice didn't really matter in the grand scheme of the experience. I took the situation in which both Mikus and I potentially (and typically) would have lost the plot, and relaxed. And ate cake, and felt like spewing, and funnily enough, enjoyed every minute of this afternoon spent with my youngest, very dear young man.

4 Responses so far.

  1. Madeleine says:

    This is a lovely post, Mook. Just lovely.

  2. ieva says:

    Taisni kā par Bellu! Kā lai viņai iemāca ēst mazliet savādākus ēdienus? Klausīties atšķirīgu mūziku? Uzvesties vietās, kas viņai šķiet garlaicīgas? Klausīties, ko runā pieaugušie? Man ir cerība, ka tas notiek soli pa solim, lai arī no malas izskatās, ka bērns ir izlutināts. Dažreiz šie soļi dārgi maksā. Bet tomēr ir vērts investēt! Tas vien jau ir progress, ka Mikiņš gribēja ēst "Istabā", nevis "McDonald`s"!

  3. Marite says:

    Huh, I thought the cake looked fabulous, but, I think I would have been on Mik's side once I found out it was marzipan. :( Good on ya though, for finding the bright spot. :)

  4. Courtney says:

    I love the expression on Mik's face in the last photo, it is so cheeky.

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