“Negotiating with a 4 year old” by Tooch Van

Tooch Van, a Cambodian-American resident of Lowell, shared the following story about his son, Winston:

After more than seven straight hours of driving on our way back from a quick road trip to Manchester VT and Montreal, Quebec au Canada, I was exhausted, everybody in my family was tired. We decided to stop for dinner at the Flying Goose Brew Pub and Grill in New London, NH.

I got the mussels fresh steamed with garlic for a family appetizer. Chorvy (my wife) got Duck Risotto and I ordered Lobster Mac and Cheese which I would share with our sons, Winston and Franklin. The two boys like Mac and Cheese. These days, they seem to like American foods more than Cambodian rice, but the good thing is they eat everything when they are hungry.

Then the interesting conversation between me and Winston happened. I ordered “English Dark Milk” draft. I wanted to taste a local brew (Chorvy agreed to drive the rest of the trip). When our waiter, Daniel, brought the beer to me Winston, who is 4 years old, suddenly asked, “Papa what is it? Is this a diet coke?”

I said “No this is a beer, this drink is only for an adult.”

Winston “Can I try it? I am adult, too.”

I said “No, you are still a kid. This is for an adult..not for a kid.”

At this point, Winston seemed to accept that answer.

Then he asked, “Papa, can I kid put my finger in there and taste it?” with a half smile on his face.

I said.. “No, do not try it, do not go there, Winston.”

Winston replied, “Oh man!”

After dinner we got back in the car. The road was very dark, the scene was very quiet, everybody was full. We drove off from the place.

In the car, Winston said… “Hey, Papa.. you know, now you and mom drop me off and pick me up at the Lowell Day Nursery (his preschool). When I am older, I will drop you off and pick you up at the Center.”

My wife and I looked at each other with a half smile. I thought to myself “did he mean an adult center or nursing home? How did he know this?”

Then, I asked “What you meant, Winston?”

Winston replied, “I meant… I am getting, 25 years old. I will care of you and mom. She is my mom…”

I said “Oh really?” I whispered it to my wife, “Where did get this from?” My wife shook her head a few times.

Winston was smiling…

(c) Tooch A. Van