From Korea with Love

"I carry your heart with me… always."

A Date with Little Dei-dei

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My little nephew, only four years old, is addicted to soda. He can finish two big glasses of soda in one sitting! When my husband saw him drink a glass of cola for the first time, (he was just two then) he was very surprised and concerned. He’s a ‘Soda Monster’! No one, not even his parents, can stop him.

I’m not the kind of aunt who would give in to her nephew’s unhealthy vice, but a few days before leaving the Philippines, I took my little nephew on a date. I thought he deserved whatever he wanted that day, because he didn’t complain a single bit after waiting in the bank with me for 20 minutes. He kept himself busy taking photos of himself, and when he got bored with that, he got my number card and watched the monitor until our number was flashed on the screen. When he saw number 44, he jumped out of his seat and shouted, “A-shi Chrish, 4-4 na!” (“Auntie Chris, it’s four-four now!”) The people who heard him were delighted. Some were laughing. Some were smiling. Being the proud aunt of a smart little boy, I was more delighted than anybody in that room.

I told him that he had done a great job in the bank and we would go to McDonald’s for some ice cream. His big eyes lit up. I was going to order caramel fudge sundae for me and chocolate sundae for him, but all of a sudden, he saw a big picture of his favorite coke float. He changed his mind, and pointing to the coke float’s poster, he said, “Yan na lang.” (“Can I just have that?”) “Well, just this time,” I thought, “a glass of coke float won’t hurt him.”

Upon seeing a big poster of McDonald’s new drink, coffee float, I changed my order, too. How can these food posters entice you in the blink of an eye?

The coffee float is all right. The ice cream has a lot of chocolate syrup, though, which ended up in my little nephew’s tummy. I don’t like chocolate syrup, but good thing, I’ve got ‘Soda Monster’ with me who happens to be a ‘Chocolate Monster’, too. ^^

I like McCafe better in Korea. McCafe in the Philippines is sweeter and the coffee is not too strong. (I’m trying to cut down on sugar now.) I’m not sure if they have the coffee float in McDonald’s in SK, but I’m going to try it and find out if it tastes better here once it’s already in the menu.

As I have expected, Dei-dei finished his coke float even before I finished mine. I asked him if he wanted to eat burger, french fries or spaghetti, or all of those, but he told me, “Ayosho. Bushog na me.” (“I don’t want anymore. I’m full.”)

Before leaving McDonald’s, I led him to the indoor playground and urged him to play with the other children, but he wanted to play with me. There was no way I was going to climb a plastic toy ladder and climb through the children’s jungle gym, so I told him that ‘big people’ aren’t allowed inside. He agreed to go in as long as I watch him, but when I asked him to take off his shoes, he inquired, “Bashet?” (“Why?”) I explained to him that they don’t want the mats to get dirty, because children like him might catch germs that could make them sick. He seemed to be thinking for a while, and then he changed his mind (again), “Ayosho, dirty yan.” (“I don’t want to play anymore. It’s dirty.”) I noticed how dirty the puzzle mats were. I remember McDonald’s indoor playground back when I was a little girl. It used to be NEATER, BIGGER, SAFER and MORE FUN. Every part of the playground set had a McDonald’s character smiling down at me. I wonder why McDonald’s doesn’t have those old playground sets these days. I suppose the children of today are not even familiar with any of McDonald’s friends: Grimace, Hamburglar, Captain Crook, Officer Big Mac, Mayor McCheese, Birdie the Early Bird, The Professor, etc.

Dei-dei knows one, of course, Ronald McDonald, and he was pleased to pose for a picture with him.

 Dei-dei and I went to a toy store and spent about 15 minutes looking for a toy that he doesn’t have yet. Every time I showed him a toy that I think he would like, he’d say, “Meron na De-dei yan.” (“I already have that toy.”)

We went to two other toy stores, and finally he found what he wanted. He got Snakes and Ladder board game and a SpongeBob coloring book. I told him he could get one more toy, but he said, “Tama na. Two lang.” (“Two is enough.”) For such a young child to know when ‘enough is enough’, I was ashamed to realize how greedy I sometimes am, to want more things when I already have all that I need in this life.

Dei-dei carried the big plastic bag that contained his board game and coloring book all the way home, and as we were walking hand in hand, he spoke these words, “Happy na me.” (“I am happy now.”)

I smiled at my little nephew, because he made me happier and realize something very important that moment.

That day, I saw happiness in my little nephew’s eyes as he was scooping out ice cream from his coke float and as he was carrying his newly bought toys… real happiness, that is, from a child’s perspective.

My date with a four-year-old child was an eye-opener.

At times I forget what it’s like to be TRULY happy with the simple pleasures this life has to offer. I complain because I can’t have this, or I can’t do that, and in complaining, I end up hurting the people I care about, my husband most of all.

I should be happy. I can be happy… just like little Dei-dei… just like any child who gets a kiss or a hug from his parents, who opens a present on Christmas Eve or gets some candies from Santa, who comes home with a smiley on his face that he is so excited to show to everybody.

There is so much about life we can learn from a child. I’m glad I’ve learned from little Dei-dei.

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