This is my sanity blog.
Last year, which actually feels like it was five years ago, I was blogging every day while staying at home with Noah.
This year, I’m blogging as often as I get my period. Basically.
I have less time to blog, or write for that matter, since single-handedly running a food business is taking up so much of it. During the rest of my free time I’m reliving my childhood as mommy to Noah, and holding down the sole title of wife to Davy, and making sure my bloody monthly mess arrives at the end of the cycle so I know I’m not pregnant (no offense to those trying to get pregnant).
So this is my sanity blog.
I need an hour to myself to just dump my brain and hopefully entertain you. I need this hour. All my hours are already accounted for, including activities like these…
That’s Noah enthusiastically charging me make-believe prices for a croissant painted along the wall of ‘t winkeltje, “the little shop.” Winkel means shop in Dutch, and if you add a je or a tje to any word, accordingly, then you magically make it little. And so this is the little shop Noah loves to play in when we’re sitting at the HEMA in the middle of Ghent. HEMA’s like a smaller and nicer Kmart, and there’s a little cafeteria-style restaurant upstairs.
I try to take Noah into the city a few times a month. Having been raised in New York myself, it’s important to me that he knows the difference between living out in the fields and pastures of Evergem, versus the energy and crowds of people and traffic in the middle of Ghent. Ghent is no New York, but…
Noah’s conquering of the streets of New York City still remains to be seen…
So last Tuesday, I met with my girlfriend Rosella to have lunch in celebration of her belated birthday. We sat eating while Noah played, very enthusiastically in ‘t winkeltje. I’d even thrown in some small change into the register for him, and handed over some ID card with a horrid photo of myself on it just so Noah could use it to slide it in the play credit card reader.
“Here’s your money mama!”
“Hello! Come to Rice House!” Noah shouted to anyone who passed by on their way out of the restaurant.
Interestingly enough, only one person stopped to play shop with Noah, in the entire two hours we were there…
I was just about done catching up with Rosella, and our meals, when I heard Noah scream.
“Mama, she took the money!”
I looked up just in time to see a five-year-old-ish little girl swipe the last of the pennies out of the play register. She turned to look at me, and in that moment I froze. I knew the little bandit probably wasn’t a bad kid, but clearly she knew what money was, by her age.
I let her run off to her parents, whose backs had been turned walking out of the restaurant, and I wanted to see what the little girl would do. I told Noah that it was okay, and that it was only money and maybe the little girl needed it. I knew it sounded ridiculous but I just wanted to see what would happen.
Well, the little girl ran up to her parents and showed them the 14 cents or so in the palm of her hand. She didn’t stuff it in her pockets and hide it from them like I thought she might. But her parents nodded their heads nonchalantly as a reply to her cries of newfound money, and that was that and they were gone. Noah said to me again that “she took the money!” I’d thought… it if it was me, and Noah had appeared out of nowhere with a bunch of change, I’d have asked him where he got it and marched him right back to where he’d taken them from. I’d definitely become my momz. Momz did that kind of thing to me all the time when I was growing up.
So I told Noah that the little girl didn’t know that it was his money, and she thought she could just take it. It’s probably the closest thing to the truth anyway. Noah’s eyes got all beady and then got wide again. He was over it. He went back to tending his little shop.
I don’t even know if I did the right thing in letting the little girl run off with the change. Obviously it wasn’t about the loss of 14 cents. It just felt like it was up to the girl’s parents to do something at that point and when they didn’t, I just let it go. I could have stopped that little family and had some sort of teaching or learning moment, but in that moment I didn’t want Noah distraught over some dirty pieces of money. At least not yet. He’s only two-and-a-half!
There’s plenty of time for that later…