Feeding the Beast

A pain au chocolat
La Serpiente continues her happy-one-day, sad-the-next journeys to school. Today she was in tears because we took the A lift to the ground floor, rather than the B lift (for unfathomable reasons, the B lift is her favourite and the A a very poor substitute) and the forlornly walked to the bus stop, complaining constantly about how she needed to sit down, only ceasing her wailing when the bus arrived. However, the bus was a little bit early so we arrived in Tiong Bahru long before school opened. Rather than stand around there waiting for it to open, we made a stop at the Tiong Bahru Bakery, where I unsuccessfully tried to persuade her that there are other pastries apart from pain au chocolat. Chocolate croissants are not not the only food, contra Jeanette Winterson, etc.

Once she had smeared chocolate over herself (how do you get food in your eyebrow when eating? Wonders will never cease) and I’d eaten half the croissant, we set off again, and now she was the picture of happiness and contentment. No complaints, no trying to run away from me, no unscheduled detours. I dropped her off at school and marched to the MRT without a care in the world.

Then I began to compute the cost of feeding her chocolate croissants every day. That’s $3 per day, five days per week, 40 weeks of the year: can I spend $600 keeping her quiescent, or is the pastry-based ransom going to climb as the weeks go by and she becomes desensitised? How long before she starts demanding an entire gateau in order to not have a screaming fit on the walk to school?

The answer to this is to stuff her full of breakfast before we leave the house, but she’s growing more and more resistant to the idea of eating her cereal and her toast before we get out the door. Perhaps while I’m away in Bangkok this week my wife will cure her of this – I hope so, otherwise I’ll have to take more extreme measures.

By which I mean bribing Derek Tiong Bahru Bakery to make a pain au marmite, and surprising her with the revolting yeast-extract-based-treat one morning. If that doesn’t cure her of her addiction, what will?

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