3yo (poking me awake at 6.07) "Daddy!" Me:"It's v early!" 3yo:"Not for ME!" Me:"Try going back to bed" 3yo:"Daddy! You're LAZY! Get tea" Agh
Our daughter has a tea fetish.
I can pinpoint exactly when it started. Her favourite Dutch Uncle was visiting. He hates coffee and only drinks tea. So she, as a precocious two year old, decided the she would like some too. She hasn't looked back!
Prepared with one third hot water, one third cold water and one third cold milk, with a teaspoon of sugar thrown in, three year old prefers to drink it from an enclosed child's cup if possible.
Some express considerable surprise when I tell them our daughter likes tea. A few are disapproving: "tea has a lot of caffeine in it you know!". I even found one mother who whispered conspiratorially, "I give my daughter tea too," as if we were discussing feeding our children prohibited substances.
Others are much more positive, many seeing it as a marker of Englishness that our daughter likes tea at such a young age.
Sadly, our three year old's liking for tea has translated into a liking for tea first thing in the morning. When she gets up. Immediately she gets up. NOW!
Let me share an example with you, the story indeed encapsulated by the tweet at the header of this post, dating from October of last year.
I am woken by three year old daughter with a painful poke to my collar bone. "Daddy!" (I should point out that "Daddy!" is said in the same short, sharp manner that my mother used for "Nicholas!" when she wanted to let me know I was in trouble. Big trouble.)
"It's very early, darling," I manage to mumble.
Three year old is not letting me get away with it: "Not for ME!"
"Try going back to bed, sweetie." I say that more in hope than expectation.
Three year old is disappointed: "Daddy, you're LAZY! Get tea!"
I use the last weapon in my armoury to try and delay the inevitable: "Gat tea, what?"
"NOW!" Three year old seems to have forgotten all politeness overnight.
I am quietly impressed at my ability to convey 'withering' whilst semi comatose with just one eye open. "Now, umm, please!" says three year old.
Providing three year old with tea does have some benefits.
Not least ensuring an immediate improvement in her humour and increasing the chances of our all enjoying the breakfast period tantrum-free.
This is perhaps best illustrated by showing the 'pre-tea' photo of her, right.
A few days later I tried a more direct approach to deflect the tea demands:
Three year old is wide awake and standing by the bed: "Daddy, tea please!" At least she remembered to be polite this time.
"Go away!" I reply, it's muffled, I'm still under the duvet.
"Daddy!" Three year old is not that easily diverted.
I'm trying to hold out. "Go away!"
"Daddy! It's your JOB!" She goes for the jugular every time.
It was around this time we faced the greatest challenge of our adoption journey with our daughter. It was the afternoon we ran out of tea.
Three year old's face when I told her we had run out of tea bags was what utter despair looks like. Distraught didn't cover it. We didn't just wail, we curled into a foetal ball and wailed. Believe me, that's much worse than tantrum wailing. If she's having a tantrum it's possible to blank the wailing out as being unreasonable and naughty. Foetal ball wailing is different, it radiates distress and is a trigger for the kind of unconditional paternal love that immediately goes out to find tea bags.
There is one thing about our daughter's tea obsession that trumps all others, however.
That's the fact that her favourite thing in the world is to sit on my lap, under a blanket, on our veranda and watch the garden on a chilly autumn afternoon with a nice cup of tea. Sitting there, drinking tea with her, snuggled under the blanket, there is nothing better!