Coffee with a toddler

Life with a toddler can be very ‘interesting’ as I am discovering each day.

We haven’t seen the sun for the past month or so. It’s always been drizzling- that softly falling rain where you think you don’t need an umbrella but you do! Damn  if you open it, damn if you don’t. Stroller and carrier these days are out of question. So we need to carry M or take her out on the bicycle. 

I was fed up of being cooped up all the time in the house so decided to step out whenever the schedule allows. My daughter has managed to push her bedtime to 1 am for the last one month, and wakes around 10:30ish in the mornings. Breakfast – if you can call it – happens around 11. 

After a breakfast of instant coconut dosa and couple of cups of tea at 11:30 am, I set out to make lunch. Decide to go and drop off the lunchbox at husband’s workplace as there is no rain, and think we can have an outing today (mistake #1). There are the usual protests while changing diaper, tying up her hair. There is some cucumber raita spilled on her shirt and she doesn’t want to change the Tshirt so clean it up and make her wear a jacket to cover it (it’s getting chilly here). Manage to think of taking everything (keys, water bottle, money, phone, umbrella) and step out.

Strap the kid to the cycle and away we go. Call the husband and asked him to come down. Kiddo finds some twigs and sticks and dry leaves in the adjacent park and soon gets busy collecting. Husband comes down, we chat a while and he leaves for a meeting, back to work.

The day is still clear and M is enjoying herself after a long time so I decide to wait. I am not hungry but my mind has started thinking of a hot coffee (mistake #2). Then it starts to drizzle a bit. Kiddo decides to get on some muddy grass and jump in puddles (thank you Peppa Pig!) and manages to get the mud splashed on her shoes. There wasn’t any water tap in this park (there usually is one) so I do some jugaad and ask her to go jump in a pool of accumulated rain water. That does the trick – we look respectable enough to enter the coffee shop. By now, the coffee is really calling out to luring her away from the grass, pigeons and puddles with a “it’s raining – let’s buy some coffee (and get you a biscuit)” and “we will come right back” I get her onto the cycle (she has no idea of what a coffee is, nor a biscuit but my voice sounds excited enough!).. The drizzle has turned to a shower so I open the umbrella and cycling with umbrella in one hand, our circus reaches the coffee shop around the corner.

There are no biscuits on display and with long line of lunch time customers, I quickly decide to buy some biscuit at the nearest 7-11. We enter (more as a refuge from the rain), try to search for some (non chocolate) biscuit and finally pick up some cream wafers. Go back to the coffee shop (similar circus) and order a brown sugar latte (for a whopping $90). Since I have paid for this luxury and it is raining outside, might as well sit there and “enjoy” my cuppa (mistake #3) Notice there is space upstairs to sit and drink so don’t  order take away (mistake #4). Ask her to put in some extra sugar too (I need all the calories I can get!). Get it beautifully delivered in a tall cup, filled to the brim. Now picture me – trying to get a hold of my wriggly kiddo, coffee cup in hand trying to climb the stairs to some peace and quiet to enjoy the coffee (the first one in many months) .. after 10 mins I am still on the first step and the assistant comes and enquires if I need help (yes, can you get my kiddo and coffee up without spilling and it getting cold?! No?! Perhaps you can look after my kid till I finish the coffee? No??! Thanks, I will mange it myself then).. I make it to the top and go place the coffee on the table. The room is in hushed silence – one guy is working away on the laptop (I see 4 empty cups in the table), one lady is leisurely reading a book and sipping her black coffee, a couple of guys are surfing away. I go to collect my kiddo (she has decided to crawl upstairs) and make a snap decision- I can’t go back in there with M pointing at random stuff loudly and repeating something constantly and running around with sticky cream-wafers-in-them fingers. I go and get my cup, scoop her up and we go back down. It’s deserted except for a lone guy working on his laptop. I manage to sit on a tall stool and make her sit on a small one and sip some brew (It’s delicious- strong, sweet, frothy -just the way I like it!). The silence of the room is broken by random chirping of my lo – “jackit” (pointing to one she is wearing) and “buttu” (to her and my shoes), “Aaku” (the stuffed dog in the window), “kopi” (my coffee cup) and myriad other things. She then decides that she wants to sit on my stool. We try and exchange places but the high stool is too tall for her – she grabs me awkwardly to keep her balance and we go back to our original positions. I cannot finish my coffee quickly enough and get out. 

The rain has stopped and she refuses to sit on the bicycle. I ask her to walk by my side as I ‘walk’ the bicycle along. We somehow cross the road and get back to the park.. and I have just about managed to park my cycle when I hear her fall – mud has splashed on her jacket and pants, and she is trying to get up with her hands firmly in the muck. She is unhurt, just a bit shocked. I clean her up with a tissue, she demands the wafer biskit (she has seen the packet in the bag now) without cleaning her hands and I somehow manage to avoid a tantrum. I sit n eat a couple of wafers myself (peanut flavored Pickwik anyone?) and calm myself down. 

After a few deep breaths, I decide I have had enough adventure for today. I think of leaving the cycle with the husband and go home by bus but another look at my bedraggled, sludge covered monkey I decide cycle it will be. I get my bearings and we begin our journey home (to a hot bath, and much needed nap and a 4 pm lunch!)


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