How to get a cookie
“Come, I tell you a story. Which one do you want to hear?”
“No, that’s a silly story. Two stupid girls who cut their feet to catch a man and another one who accepts to be treated like an animal instead of fighting for herself…There is nothing good in that story,” I told my niece, lowering my voice, as my daughter was right next door. My daughter of course knew what I thought about telling silly, old fashioned stories to children, I never bought any of that crap when she was little. She later accused me of robbing her childhood and made her a miserable woman because I taught her to think by herself and be independent, but I believe she turned out just fine. So, if you ask me, my experiment worked and I will use the same methods with my niece, oh yes, and see her blossoming into an open, curious, and strong woman, who does not need a man to live but can choose to take one, if she wanted to.
“Your problem, my dear, is that you work too much,” I told once my daughter as she was again complaining about her stolen childhood.
“My problem, mom, is that you made me so picky about men that nobody wants to come close to me for more than half an hour,”
“Oh, was your daughter’s conception that fast?,” I joked, indifferent to her indignant look.
I know she felt lonely but who doesn’t? There will always be moments in life where alienation will take over and you have to allow it, take it as a medicine, swallow it until the pain is gone and you are up on your feet again, ready for the world. After all, we create our own solitude, that’s what I always thought.
“You are not lonely,” I often tell her, “I am here, your daughter is here. We eat meals together every day, so technically you are not lonely. You feel lonely, but that’s another thing and we cannot help with that, can’t we Rosanna?” My niece was at that time still a little baby, a sunny smile always illuminating her chubby cheeks.
“I like Cinderella, she has a nice gown and I like the pumpkin turned into a carriage. You not think it is magical?” my niece now asked.
“No, what I think is magical is how a brain can come up with thousands of ideas and implement them.”
“I don’t understand. What you do with ideas?”
“You do them, you get an idea and you do it.”
“You think you want to eat a cookie, you go and get a cookie,” I tell my niece.
“But…but mom does not buy cookies, she says they are not good for me,” she tells me opening her small arms to emphasise the absence of cookies.
Proud of my daughter, I am. I also did not buy cookie, not very often at least.
“So, what else could you do to get a cookie?” I asked my niece.
“I don’t know,” she said with large green eyes, her eyebrows raising up funnily.
“Think harder, think about where you can get a cookie,” I insist.
She looks around, turns her head right and left. She sees a ball and she picks it up. I smile as the ball is slighter larger than her tiny body, amazed by the cuteness of this child. She throws the ball in front of me and looks up.
“This is not a cookie,” I say.
“No cookie. But…but Joshua likes the ball. Joshua has cookies, his mother gives him cookie. I give him the ball, and I take a cookie,” she said, again her small hands and arms weaving in the air as she explains her idea to me.
I laugh, and tell she got it right, that was an awesome idea. I keep the lesson about the value of a ball versus the value of a cookie for a later time.