I have read hundreds of blogs, over the years. Thousands of social media updates (perhaps millions!). Loads of these have been about special family times. It’s not immediately obvious, but I had an epiphany about it today: for many families, some of their most remarkable parenting moments revolve around milkshakes.
You don’t have to schedule milkshake fun. It can happen when it’s a rainy day and you’re at a loss for something to do. It could be after a rough Monday at the office and you need to do something with your child to help restore the smile to your face. Milkshakes can be rewards for chores done or for good behaviour after a gruelling shopping day.
For some kids, the chocolate or strawberry deliberation becomes their first exposure to dining out. Having three children, this eternal quandary has become a study in their personality types. Some restaurants and coffee shops have edgier menus and offer bubble gum or cream soda flavours, which only adds tension to this choice (especially when you aren’t convinced the waiter is going to get the order right).
If the waiter manages to get it right, though, that’s when the magic happens. There’s some weird ingredient in milkshake that calms kids down and gets them to be much more expansive in their attitudes. It’s as if children know that it’s the best thing to happen to them for that day, and they’re prepared to indulge their parents. Like The Godfather, they’ll incline a patient ear to your ramblings:
You got me a milkshake? Okay, I will play along with your subtle interrogation about how life is treating me…
You can’t sulk while sucking a straw full of milkshake. Everyone knows that. You can’t argue or moan and you forget about life’s woes, just for a moment.
It’s a simple pleasure. Most of us, even if in financial dire straits, can afford a milkshake. There doesn’t have to be an entire meal involved, just a tall, hopefully well-balanced, glass of creamy, delicious goodness.
I can recommend milkshake parenting. Forget Instagram for a while and savour your child’s contentment. Imagine how it feels for them to be confronted with a giant vat of pleasure the size of your head.
And, if the restaurant is really, really quiet, you can both make farty noises with the bubbles at the bottom of the glass.
No matter what you’re up to these holidays, do have fun and drive safely!
What do you like to do with your children for a treat? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could win a R250 kalahari.com voucher.