We went out to a restaurant in the city with some friends last night.
I’d been bribing Ella into being good from before we even left home by promising her an ice cream in the restaurant.
So while we were waiting for everyone to arrive, I ordered her not one but two scoops of gelati. A massive portion which made me feel somewhat guilty for the effect it would have on her dental health, but made me also selfishly hopeful that it would keep her busy for a long time so I could actually participate in the dinner conversation. She was indeed happy eating tiny spoonfuls for quite some time until she lost interest and the ice cream turned into a milkshake minus the shake.
Then tragedy struck. When we came back from a visit to the toilet the staff had cleared the entree plates off the table and the ice-cream too had gone. Drama! It didn’t help me telling Ella that it was all melted anyway. She was inconsolable. I had to take her outside to give the other diners a break from the high pitched wailing.
When we came back to the table after some fresh air with Ella somewhat calmer but still grumpy, waiting for her on the table was a brand new two-scoop ice cream! One of my friends had told the waitress of the tragic impact removing the ice-cream had had on Ella and she kindly replaced it.
It doesn’t matter that it turned into gooey sludge again before she could finish it. Justice had been done!
I get so affected by seeing children – especially my own – cry over such things which seem totally trivial to an adult but about which I have childhood memories that vaguely remind me of how utterly heart-breaking such experiences are at that age.
I will never forget the time last year that we got to the ice cream stand at the markets when they were selling out on the last day they were there before the winter break. I had been promising Ella an ice cream and you can imagine my relief when I noticed they had about 2 small scoops left. I triumphantly ordered the girl to put these last 2 scoops of the season on a cone for my excited little girl. Only to then discover I did not have any money on me at all. I had to drag Ella away from the ice cream, with her screaming as if someone had just told her she was about to lose both her legs. And me feeling so bad for her, so empathising with her grief that I was nearly in tears too. I eventually bought her a very expensive and very posh adults ice cream from the deli that allowed me to pay by card.
Ella only had her first ice cream when she was nearly two. I didn’t see any reason to give her that much sugar when she had no idea what she was missing out on anyway. But now – like most parents I can imagine – I fully enjoy the expression of pure joy this cold, unhealthy, brightly coloured snack can put on my daughter’s face. They have an expression in Dutch: “A child’s hand is easily filled” (E: Little things please little minds). And boy, do I enjoy filling it!