BG 234 – What would you like to drink, darling?

As was often the case on Friday mornings, I sat at a table in a local catering establishment, where they served – only during the day – tea, coffee and other drinks, various types of pastries, and also a small assortment of sandwiches. Most customers came there mainly to have a leisurely chat.
That morning a young mother came in with two small children. She had left a stroller outside and, with one child on her hip and the other with a little arm wrapped around her leg, went looking for a high chair. She found one, and luckily she got help from one of the other customers to place the thing at a free table for her. She put the smallest child in it, who, after being freed from her little jacket, immediately stuck her thumb in her mouth and began to look around with big eyes. Then she tried to convince the other child, a little boy, whom she had stripped of his jacket with a little more effort, to climb onto a chair himself. He didn’t want to know about that. He started whining and mom had to pick him up and put him on the chair.
When she had hung her own coat over the back of her chair and had also sat down, the owner of the business, Annie, came standing next to her with a notepad and a pen to take her order. She wanted a coffee please, she said. And then she turned to the little boy, who was perhaps just three years old, and asked, ‘What would you like to drink, darling?’
When the boy did not answer immediately, she turned to the little girl, who was certainly not more than a year old: ‘And you, darling, what would you like to drink?’
I watched the scene from a distance, somewhat surprised and amused.
The mother kept asking her children what they wanted to drink and started listing drinks that she knew the children liked.
Annie grew impatient and asked sternly, ‘What can I write down, ma’am?’
‘Just a minute…’ she said apologetically, and she began to look a little agitated and uncomfortable. Because well, her darling children just couldn’t make up their minds. It went on and on and on. Every now and then she would suggest something and then the little boy would complain ‘No, I don’t wan tha!’
‘But honey, you drank that yesterday, didn’t you?’
To which the little boy replied very firmly: ‘Buh I don’t wan tha!’
The little girl in the high chair kept repeating cheerfully, ‘Don’t!’ ‘Don’t, don’t!’
The woman became more and more desperate, and Annie’s patience wore off.
Then the boy decided that he no longer wanted to sit on the chair he was sitting on. His mother negotiated with him that it was really the nicest place, next to mom, but he didn’t think so: ‘Wanna si there!’
Whereupon the mother got up with a deep sigh, lifted the child under his armpits and brought him to the chair on the other side of the table. Just as she had installed him on it, and pushed the chair a little farther under the table, the child, crying now, decided, ‘Back, otha chai!’
Sure enough, with a deep sigh, a red head and gleaming with sweat, she brought him back to his original seat, while now his sister was also making frantic attempts to climb out of her high chair. Apparently, she also wanted to sit somewhere else.
As she soothed the children back into and onto their seats, she asked them for the umpteenth time in a sweet tone what they wanted to drink.
Annie looked at her watch demonstratively and asked loudly and sharply, ‘What can I write down?’ And a little later ‘A coffee, then?’
She walked to her place behind the counter to pour it. In the meantime, she helped a number of other customers with their orders and payment. When she brought the woman her coffee, she asked, ‘And what will it be for the little ones?’
The woman looked at her children quite desperately and started again…, ‘Darlings, what…’
But Annie interrupted her with a dignified ‘Why don’t YOU Tell me what your little darlings want to drink!”
The woman, stuttering with red cheeks, asked for an apple juice for the little boy, who then began to wail ‘I don’t wan tha!’, and for a milkshake for the little girl.
‘What flavour of milkshake do you want, darling?’
And looking at Annie: ‘What flavours of milkshake do you have?’
To which Annie barked, ‘Strawberry!’
The woman had already taken up at least fifteen minutes of Annie’s time.
‘Do you want strawberry, darling?’
‘Yes, the darling wants strawberry!’ barked Annie. ‘An apple juice and a strawberry milkshake! On their way!’
And she walked away. Leaving the young mother bewildered.
‘I don’t wan slawbody…’ the little boy complained.
To which the mother said: ‘It’s for your sister. You will get apple juice.’
‘I don’t wan apple juth…’