Ah, that rich, strong aroma of coffee. Its anticipation is the only thing that makes getting out of bed worthwhile most of the time. I understand the attraction to coffee and why some might call it an addiction. I really do. Not that I’m addicted. I can quit anytime I want to. I quit when I was pregnant and I could do it again anytime–if I happened to go crazy and wanted to quit.
But how do you keep coffee away from an eight-year-old boy once he’s had a taste of the good stuff?
It all started so innocently. It was Spring Break, which I suppose is a time when many a vice makes its first appearance. Ah tradition!
We were at a Starbucks somewhere near Hoover Dam when my son asked for a sip of my latte. Why not? I handed it over naively, expecting him to reject it as quickly as he did when he tried tuna casserole, peanut M & M’s or key lime pie. Anticipating that I would have my coffee back immediately, I held out my hand and was dumbfounded when he took a gigantic gulp. He finally came up for air with a huge cat-that-ate-the-canary grin on his face, only to chug the rest of my liter-sized latte down without even taking another breath.
The look on the boy’s face was so buzzed and stupidly proud, for a second I thought I was back at a college frat party, with drunken freshman pledges yelling at each other to “drink, drink, drink.” His telltale milk moustache even looked just like beer foam.
Uh oh. The big red mother’s warning flag went up in my head. Danger zone. This kid–who doesn’t really sleep all that much to begin with–really likes coffee.
This can’t be good.
It definitely wasn’t.
Normally a bit hyper, he spent the next 9 hours in hyper-drive mode, bouncing off the walls–of our car.
This definitely wasn’t good.
He is normally kind of a physical kid, but now he was in hyper-touch mode, constantly hugging and wrestling anyone who came near him. The frat party visions came back again.
This was not good.
Finally the caffeine wore off. We all crashed hard.
For the rest of our trip, every time we came near a java joint we were greeted by pleas of, “Please, can I have a latte?” I have a hard time passing up an opportunity for a coffee fix in the best of circumstances. It didn’t help that on this trip we were guest room hopping and staying in cheap motels, so hubby and I were even more tired and in need of caffeine than usual.
“May I please have a latte?” replaced “Are we there yet?” as the chorus for the soundtrack of our trip.
One morning when we were particularly groggy he managed to order himself a latte at breakfast before my ears perked up. “He’s just kidding,” I said to the big-eyed waitress, who couldn’t wait for a cigarette break to share the story about those crazy kooks from California.
It didn’t help that our friends in Albuquerque allow their children to imbibe in decaf. “May I please have a latte?” now had a companion statement in the reprise. “It’s okay mom. I’ll have a decaf,” The fact that their fifth grade son is the same height as our third grader didn’t seem to deter our child’s desire for the stuff.
I guess I should just be happy he didn’t ask for a sip of my beer.