Coffee Dates…With My Daughter

Ronia’s third living room is a coffee shop. The owners have a 4-year-old in Ronia’s playgroup, which contributes to a comfy, kid-friendly feel. However, she is often the only kid there during the week, and thus does not have to share the various books and toys.

There was a cartoon circulated on the Internets recently that illustrated the parenting do’s and don’ts. The only one I really mess up on is the coffee date. Well, that and picking her nose sometimes. My nanny friend claims that only a father would take his child to a coffee shop, but I think it has everything for us both. Ronia even had a barrista action figure, which bedded down with the Metroman on her stroller, covering them with a cloth for a blanket. Unfortunately, the hard life of a barrista action figure and the attentions of Ronia and the other clientele led her to disintegrate, but that was a lesson as well, I’m sure.

Ronia and I went there a lot when I stayed at home with her, when everyone else in there was hard at work on a Mac laptop. I brought mine to blend in, and would take it out when Ronia napped, and chat with my friends. The iconic image of this period is Ronia fast asleep on a couch, the biscotti the she teethed on clutched in her grasp. Ronia herself would visit each of the laptops in turn, and sure enough headsets would be disconnected soon enough and the previously harried yuppie would be grinning and showing Ronia Sesame Street on You Tube. In her years there, no one ever once told her to buzz off. Ronia never strikes out. As our friend pointed out, she shares this quality with my ladyfriend. I am resigned to being surrounded by beautiful, brilliant, and utterly persuasive women, and hope it reflects well on me.

On this day it is Sunday so we have nowhere to be. Ronia and I roll in there after 4 pm, so less than an hour before it closes. Ronia promptly steals a boy’s truck, and the mother sweetly informs me “it’s all right if they share.” Ronia rolls the truck all around the kid while he patiently looks on. Even he is not immune to her charms. Ronia wants to drink my drink, despite it’s name “man tea.” (It’s smoky and huge.) She wants to drink it out of my cup, but it’s too hot. I pour it into the mug from my fruit, and she is not interested. She finally accedes if I pour “A LOT” in. Behind headphones, a woman smiles at our negotiation. When it is time to go, I pour the remainder back into the to go cup and give it to Ronia. She shoulders it proudly, the 16 oz. cup looking like a tankard of ale in her hand. “This is my coffee,” she smiles. Usually she adds “you can’t have it.”

Jesse BaconJesse Bacon grew up a nerdy, wimpy Jewish kid in rural Wisconsin. He stayed at home with his daughter for most of her first two years of life and is just now transitioning to a part time activist work for Jewish Voice for Peace while she starts preschool. He would also like to incorporate racial and economic justice into his support of feminism. He is a practicing Jew who goes to synagogue most weeks and tries to keep his laptop closed on the Sabbath.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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