A smile for a popsicle
“Maddie! You gotta use sun cream or you’ll die of skin cancer!!” yells the protective, sligthly nervous mum to the 8-year old next to us. Would this 8-year-old-brunette princess know what skin cancer is, or will she understand that it is something dangerous because her mum screams about it and she used the word ‘die’? Either way, Maddie seems to get the message. With a serious frown and exaggerating moves she grabs the sun cream from the table and pours thick white drops on her tanned tummy.
Her little sister looks at her with the gaze of a sleeping sheep. Totally relaxed she is, sitting between the legs of her dad, who is caressing her little back. She can not sit up by herself, she is only 4 months old and has no idea what is going on. What an easy life, right? I see Maddie thinking the same: “Why doesn’t Coco have to use sun cream? You only tell me to use it! You never tell Coco that she will die, mummy!!” “Coco has sun cream too, Maddie. I helped her with that at home. She is too little to do it by herself.” Maddie looks even more agitated. “Coco is too little for this, Coco’s too little for that, Coco is too little for everything except for doing poo poo and crying! Coco needs help with everything! Everything is always about Coco! I wish I didn’t have a baby sister!” Maddie throws herself on the floor. “Maddie! Don’t say that!” the mum looks furious. “You can not wish your baby sister gone. Please Maddie, say sorry to her.” The 8-year-old totally disagrees. “As if she hears what I am saying. She can not even talk!” She stands up, stumbles and walks away to the other side of the restaurant, while mummy looks at dad. “That girl, she really needs to learn how to behave, John.” John chuckles. “She will be alright, right Coco?” he says, while rubbing Coco’s little ear.
Maddie comes back. “Look at you, hugging Coco, leaving my all by myself.. I could have walked away. You don’t care about me now do you, do you??” Tears rolling down on her pink cheeks. “Come here silly Maddie,” mum says softly while pulling Maddie on her lap. We love you as much as we love Coco, we just don’t want you to misbehave. And we also don’t want you to be unkind to your baby sister. You are her big sister and you have to give the right example, remember? So, can you please say sorry to us?” Maddie looks angry at her little pain in the ass sister. “Maddie?” says dad. “Maddie, come on. If you say sorry, you can go get that ice cream you’ve been asking for since we’ve arrived...” Grumpy cat jumps up. “I do??” big eyes, big smile, not a track of tears anymore. “Yes you do. So, what was it you wanted to say to us?” “SORRYYYYY!!!” Little, but smart princess yells it out loud and she takes off to the counter. She gets back with the biggest ice popsicle ever and everybody smiles again as if nothing happened. The parents, visible relieved, zip their coffee. Children happy, mum and dad happy.
Again, a child that got candy as a reward I think to myself. Next time, she will do the same, over and over again, because she knows that is how she gets what she wants. And so will Coco. Because she might not be able to speak or 'act' yet, but she will one day... Too bad, I think to myself.. But then again, parenting is a hard job and being consequent is even harder, especially when you want to enjoy an easy Sunday morning breakfast in Ibiza. I know!