Thursday, November 15, 2007


On Thursdays after school, I take Z. to the cafe in the next block. It's a ritual that developed last Spring, though I'm a little hazy on exactly when. School gets out at four, so we're seldom there much before four-thirty, and the cafe closes at five, in a flexible kind of way. If you're already in, they don't kick you out, but they do start cleaning around you.

Z. gets warm milky tea and a lemon brioche. I get a hot jasmine green tea and either nothing or whatever looks good. She picks out two dog biscuits from the complimentary jar near the register, for taking home to our dogs later. I cut down her straw so it's easier for her to drink. She asks for a napkin and I tuck one into her collar. Puppy Pie gets a seat of honor on the table. Z. picks the lemon part out of the brioche (think cinnamon roll with lemon curd filling) and scatters the crumbs around her plate. I drink my jasmine green. When Z. loses interest in the crumbs, I get a little bag for her to take them home and we bus our table with enthusiasm. Occasionally we score some leftover baked goods for free when they clean out the case. We then have the bag, the milky tea, and Puppy Pie to juggle on the way home, and sometimes the stroller, which Z. no longer wants to occupy.

The half-block home is sometimes a little tricky, honestly, especially if she drops something while we're crossing the street. But it's been a good way to organize the end of the week for us. On Fridays, we have a similar routine at the bakery where I pick up the pastries for the weekend's events at the store, only with milk instead of milky tea, and a cookie or a cupcake instead of a brioche. (Fridays are are a cheaper date than Thursdays, it will not surprise you to know.) So if there are baked goods and go-cups involved in our afternoon, we know the weekend can't be far away.

When we first fell into this pattern, Z. sat at her chair at the cafe and her chin just naturally rested on the table. Now her shoulders are well above it, the table comes about to her armpits. Today, there were no lemon brioches left, but there was fruit tart, and we each had a slice. I gave her my strawberry slices and she gave me her kiwi ones, and she used a fork to eat most of her custard. (And her finger for the rest, of course.) It occurred to me that we have a long, long time ahead of us, mother and daughter, sharing pastries over tea. I'm looking forward to it.


Furrow said...

Oh, how wonderful! Thanks for giving me a glimpse of the kinds of afternoons I hope to have with my Z.

Anonymous said...

YES! This is why I say "let's go to the cafe" when I come to visit. It's not just for the coffee or tea and goodies... Mom

Julia said...

A nice ritual, that.
You and Lori are making me want to blow off an afterschool activity or five in favor of a few slow afternoons at a cafe.

S. said...

Furrow, hang in there! You'll and Zo will get there!

Mom, laughing. Okay, we're on for the next time you come.

Julia, I'm all for it.

Magpie said...

That's lovely, a sweet ritual.

(un)relaxeddad said...

I love that! Dudelet and I have been going to coffee shops together for...well, since a few weeks after he was born. At first he'd sleep in his pram and now he eats half the shop and steals the chocolate frosted top off my decaf cappuccino.

Here's to many years more of coffee/brioche/pastry/etc rituals for the four of us.

(I wonder what he really gets up to with supermum?)

liz said...

What a lovely ritual. Tea with Mama.