Hawkeye and I took advantage of a sunny morning to have brunch outside in a nearby popular restaurant. I order food and a cappuccino. The waiter brings coloured pencils and paper with the outline of two trolls on it together with my drink and the sugar bowl.
I immediately pick up the sugar bowl to move it away from the toddler’s grabby hands. He’s already reaching for it before the waiter can even take a step away from our table. This is second nature to me now whenever we sit down anywhere. I set it down at furthest corner of the table and I’m about to pick up a sugar cube when Hawkeye starts to whine in response to me thwarting his attempt to snatch the sugar. I try to placate him, play down the sugar’s significance but I can see the signs – lots of unpleasant noise is about to ensue if I don’t do something decisive.
I drop the sugar cube back in the sugar bowl.
“It’s ok, honey. See? I’m just putting it away. No one is going to have any sugar. No sugar for Hawkeye and no sugar for mommy. See? No sugar for anyone.”
The meltdown initiation countdown is paused. The toddler evaluates my statement, deliberating his options. Continue with tantrum ignition procedure or abort the mission for now? This is a crucial moment.
“Hey, look at the coloured pencils! Do you want to colour in the trolls with me?”
Peace reigns but mommy cannot drink her cappuccino without sugar.
“Oooh, hey look at that – it’s a big dog!”
“Over there! No, there, right behind you. Can you see it? A big dog!”
Hawkeye turns around to see the thrice-blessed, conveniently appearing big dog. I snatch a sugar cube and drown it in the cappuccino’s foamy depths a split second before he turns back around.
Hawkeye looks at me suspiciously. I stare back.
“Hey, so what colour do you want to use for this troll’s hair? Yellow or orange?” I ask him, quietly stirring my coffee.
He picks the yellow. I take a sip.
Life goes on.