<%-- Page Title--%> Slice of Life <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 115 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

July 25, 2003

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The Big Burger

Richa Jha

The evenings are “jeep park” time for my toddler. Ever since the onset of the monsoons, I send him to the Wimpy - Lavender premises in Gulshan where he enjoys at the very thoughtfully created small play zone for kids. There are interesting slides, rockers, see-saws and a coin-operated jeep, hence the name “jeep park”
, imaginatively coined by the little one. It was all going on very well until this weekend when, weighed down by an ultra sensitive guilt conscience, I decided to try something new.
“I think we ought to go beyond this play zone. We've been bringing him here for so long, and we are yet to try the burgers at Wimpy. Doesn't that sound cheap on our part? I wonder what the security guards think about us ..just use of the free play area but no purchases, what do you say ? ”
“Why do you worry so much about what others have to say about you. I think it's perfectly ok for us to get him here daily. I can't see any signboard here saying 'play and therefore, eat and pay'”. The Hubby may have had a point there, but I chose to ignore it.
So that evening, once the little one had had his fill of the fun zone, we had our small cozy family outing at the burger place. Despite my distinct dislike for any junk food, I enjoyed myself that day. For the first time in so many days, I had the clean self righteous conscience to look the security men straight into their eyes as I stepped out of the premises. I slept well that night.
The next evening, however, was different. Follow below the excerpts from our conversation:
At home:
Son (persistently): burger
Me (patiently): no, not today darling. Today we'll play at the jeep park.
Son (stomping his foot): burger
Me : Let's get ready. Your rides are waiting for you.
Son : No, Burger.
Me: well, we can't have burger every day. so let's not think about it, right?
Me (to The Hubby) : Do you see how he's behaving today. The one thing I didn't want my child to pick up is throwing tantrums, and look at what he's at right now.
The Hubby : he's growing up, isn't he? It's all a packaged deal, my dear.
Son (seeing that I am speaking with his father instead, screams out louder): BURGER, BURGER, BIG BURGER!
Me: Do you hear that? I'm going to ignore him for a while now. He could have thrown tantrums for any other thing. But for burger? I don't my child falling into the same trap of junk food that most kids prefer these days.
The Hubby (with an annoying grin, I could take his life for): You should have thought of all that before having introduced him to the taste of one. How is he to be blamed for this behaviour? You were the one who took him there.
Son (now beginning to sob) : B-u-r-g-e-r. Mom, burger.
Me: you know why I took him there. Not because I like burgers. I don't.
The Hubby: let's take him there. Who knows, those security guards may help him change his mind? They certainly did force you to have burgers, didn't they!!
Me (getting annoyed) : Listen, with this child wailing here, I have no patience for your wise-cracks.
In the Car, on our way:
Burger…burger…daddy, burger…mamma, burger…!
The Hubby: Now relax, I'm sure he'll forget all about them once he is sees the play zone.
Me: hmmm, I really hope so.
At The Lavender, before getting off the car:
The Hubby: I can already see the guards getting ready to welcome their dearest customer. they noticed how you went in yesterday, didn't they?
Me (to The Hubby, still ignoring the child's howls): will you stop it now? I've had enough of it already from you this evening.
Son ( thinking this one was for him, wails even louder): Big Burger…big burger.
The Hubby (to our son): sunny dear, let's not mess around with your mother today, do you get it? She seems to be in an unforgiving mood. Let's get off the car, and play at your 'jeep park'.
Son (still crying) : No jeepak, burger.

Me (losing my cool): enough, both of you. Kiddy, do you want to play here or not? If you cry like this, we'll leave this place right-away. Do you get it?
Son (even louder): BURGER!
The Hubby: hey son, how about a story while you play at the jeep park?
Son: Burger story NO. Burger.
We decided to leave. The child carried on with his protests, and pressed for his demand with even greater vocal vigour. We ignored him, we distracted him, we ignored him again, we cajoled him, we pet him, we did everything possible, but he didn't relent. He refused to eat his dinner that evening, and went to sleep thus crying.
At 2:30 am, in the dead of the night, in a dark dark room, with three souls sleeping, the child murmured in his sleep, with his eyes shut : mamma, no jeepak, burger.
He then turned around and repeated: big burger.
After which there was silence until the first twitter of birds.

I prepared him burger for breakfast, but at least, they were home made and with some nutrition, keeping my conscience clear. Parents find consolation in small things, don't they?!!


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