vanilla milk, and other elixirs of peaceChristine Kang
About six months ago, my daughter was enduring what I’m sure she viewed as the worst day of her young 8-year-old life. She’d had a bad day at school, and came home in a foul mood. As a result, she took her anger out on me, which, in turn, earned her a firm scolding. Later, when her father came home, they went outside to skateboard for a while and she fell, scraping her knee. She came inside limping and sniffling, and after cleaning up her scrape, I noticed it was approaching her bedtime, so I sent her to her room to change into her pajamas.
When she came back out, I started laughing. “Alex, honey,” I said, “you’ve put your pajamas on inside-out.”
She looked down at herself and burst into tears. “I can’t do anything right!” she wailed.
I gave her a hug. “You’ve had a rough day, haven’t you?” I said. She nodded, continuing to sob.
And then, suddenly inspiration hit.
“I have an idea. Let’s go ahead and get into bed. You can read for a while, and I’m going to make you a surprise.”
I led her into her bedroom, got her tucked into her bed (with her profoundly wounded knee elevated on a pillow, natch), and propped her up with a few more pillows and one of her favorite books. She smiled through her tears. “Thanks, Mom.”
“Okay, you lie there and read for a bit. I’ll be right back.”
I went into the kitchen and pulled out a small saucepan. I don’t know how I remembered this, but watching Alex cry helplessly immediately reminded me of a drink my mother used to make when I was her age, and I needed some comforting. I quickly heated up a mug of warm milk, and added a teaspoon of demerara sugar, and a half teaspoon of vanilla extract. I stirred and tasted it.
I took it into Alex’s room, noting that she had stopped sniffing, and was now engrossed in her book.
“Here,” I said, handing her the mug. “Drink this.”
“What is it?”
“Just trust me. Drink it. It will make you feel better.”
She took a sip. Then she took a gulp. And then she burst into tears all over again.
“Oh my God, Alex, what’s wrong now??”
“Nothing’s wrong,” she cried through her tears. “You’re the best Mom I could ever have!”
I laughed again. And I was grateful that I remembered that drink! Since that night, we always make “Vanilla Milk” any time Alex is having a rough day. And I took to Twitter, asking if anyone else had a special drink that they made for their kids when they needed some comfort — I was surprised at how many variations of Vanilla Milk people used, including various spices like cinnamon, or even nutmeg!
So now I’ll ask you: Do you have a special comfort drink you make for your kids? Did your mom ever used to make you one?
I’d love to hear your special “elixirs of peace” in the comments, below.
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