Monday, March 17, 2014

A mochi attitude

Zoe and I pass by a Japanese food/sushi shop every day from daycare and her love for sushi always has her pressing her nose up against window. But since they only serve sushi during lunch we never had any reason to go in. Today she asked herself though and I said why not. She was fascinated by all the sushi ingredients, asking "what's that" to all of it: the sea wheat, the tubed wasabi and the shrimp flavored crackers. I found they had frozen red bean mochi, which I really like, so I picked out a pack and lay on the counter where an elderly Japanese guy was talking in Swedish on the phone. Zoe saw a little stand with key chains, some shaped as soy sauce bottles, others as Mumin characters (!). It was exactly at her eye level and we looked at them together, me prepared to buy her one if she like it. She looked at all of them, and took a magnet down from a display, asking why it was sticky before proceeding to take one of the key chains down, except they were tangled a bit so she was attempting to take the second one over the first one, making the first one almost fall off too. The Japanese man interrupted his phone conversation and grabbed the chains out of her hand, and said very harshly and quite condescending in Swedish: "NO NO, you can't do that, you have to let your mom do that for you". Zoe looked at me and asked what the man said because she still doesn't understand much Swedish. I told her, but decided that I was not going to buy anything from a shop with that attitude towards kids, so I took the mochi back to the freezer while explaining to Zoe that we were leaving. She followed me diligently and quiet out the door but as I walked out the shop the shop keeper yelled after me "You have to look after your child". I almost exploded; I turned around and yelled back in my best Swedish "I did look after her, you idiot". I had been right there. Right next to her, my 3 year old looking at colorful plastic things at her eye level, which she carefully tried to explore. She was not about to knock anything valuable over, she was not misbehaving or in anyway doing something I didn't think was appropriate for a child to do in a shop. As we walked home Zoe said to me "Mom, that was a very stupid man". I agreed, adding that we will never go there again.

Zoe was quickly over it but I mulled over the incident for hours. Since I had no other person to share the story with and move on mentally, I grumbled and coursed over how some people just don't accept kids as real people. And I wondered why the man thought it was a good idea to tell us off and lose a potential customer. Then I thought about the mantra that holding a grudge is like letting someone live rent-free inside your head. I wrote this blog post and moved on.

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