By Diane Ako
One weekend, I took Olivia and her best friend Meya to a fancy afternoon tea at A Cup of Tea in Kailua. What a fun Girls' Date!
We made a production out of picking out outfits and sparkly accessories, and then headed over. I even let Olivia wear some high heels that I gave her to play with at home, that she has been dying to actually wear in public.
I also let her pick out my outfit, and she insisted I wear what she calls a "fireworks" top - it has gold sequins sewn in a starburst pattern. I think of it as a nighttime shirt, but she pleaded with me to use what is her favorite top of mine.
When we were seated, the girls were excited by all the flowery linens and china, and the three-tiered plate stand that the food comes out on. We of course had stuffed animals to accompany us.
The most unexpected moment for me came when the waitress told us jokingly that we have to finish the bottom two plates before we can eat the top tier with the cupcakes and chocolate dipped strawberries. The waitress said when we're ready, call her and she'll bring the ice cream, too.
I knew she was kidding about eating everything, but I guess when you are seven, you are used to adults bossing you around.
We were all hungry so we dug in happily to the finger sandwiches and scones. When there were about three sandwiches left, Meya asked if we had finished enough food on our plates so that we could get to dessert. That's when I realized she took the waitress seriously.
I decided to take advantage of this opportunity to have my child and her friend fill up on nutritious food rather than refined sugar as they are wont to do every hour on the hour, especially on weekends. "No, I think we need to eat it all up, just a little more."
Meya looked at Olivia with determination and strategized, "Hurry, Olivia. You take that orange slice and I'll eat this one." They actually divided up the remaining food for maximum efficiency.
I rarely see my child eat that fast. I'm not exaggerating; only 15 minutes lapsed from the time we sat down to the time the sandwiches and scones were gone. I was amused and surprised.
Other times I've been to tea, it's taken one to two hours. I didn't anticipate tea going by so quickly today. I had even put in nearly two hours on the parking meter.
In record time, the bottom two plates were clean and there were two pairs of extremely eager eyes staring up at the top tier of dessert. "Yes, I think you can have it now," I nodded, and offered them the plate of treats that went quickly into happy hands.
We left after half an hour. Though short, it made a big impression on Olivia, who asked if we can have her birthday party there this summer. That will be cute; a half dozen eight-year-olds at high tea.
Meanwhile, I think I should get a three tier stand for serving Olivia all her meals at home. It worked so well at A Cup of Tea, that I wonder if I can get her to eat her food if I present it like they do!