It hasn’t been a very cold winter so far, but it’s been a wet, soggy, dreary one. On the days its fairly warm outside, it’s too soggy either from melted snow or too much rain and the air smells like wet dog. Ellie was getting a little antsy and I think I was anxious to get out of the house too. So as a change of scenery, I decided to take Ellie to my local coffee hangout and draw pictures. Instead of drawing pictures over and over huddled around my coffee table, we’d do it around someone else’s.

We went to Tongue’s Protein Bar & Chill Lounge. With free Wi-Fi, awesome Zingerman’s coffee for only a buck a cup, and a name like “chill lounge,” this has been my hang out of choice lately. And by hangout I mean, lurk quietly with my headphones on while writing about life with my kid. But I figured why not bring Ellie to lurk with me?

We went in mid-morning stocked with crayons, crackers, and the need to chill. Even though I didn’t expect to see many people there, I was still a little surprised when I went in and only saw two. I guess 10am is not prime coffee time. There was one person working behind the counter, one customer sitting at the counter, and then us. “One coffee and one water please!” Oh, I forgot to mention. Ellie brought her stuffed Snow Lady (as she calls her, O-Mai) that’s almost as big as her too. Should I get an iced coffee for her?

We set up shop around a coffee table in the back. Ellie didn’t hesitate to make herself feel right at home and got comfortable on the big leather sofa with her Snow Lady. “O-Mai!” We drew pictures and colored for awhile and she was well behaved. Playful but quiet. But I could tell we were reaching that point of her getting tired and very finicky. Her eyes had started to dilate and she got that slight crazy look on her face. It was time to go home for lunch, but she wasn’t ready. She did not want to go home. I wasn’t expecting this to happen.

“Come on Ellie, let’s put your coat on,” I said.

“Nooooo,” She replied.

I didn’t want her to freak out and cry here. It was so quiet and I didn’t want to disrupt the other two people. So I began a bargaining session. I was offering her favorite foods for lunch, to go home and watch her favorite show, to call grandma, to call mama, or to go home and drink juice. Nothing was sounding more appealing to her than walking around the coffee table and singing to herself. “Doo-dee-doo-dee-dooo.” I even offered her a cookie, or a donut but she wouldn’t be bought. I really didn’t want to do this the hard way. The Chill Lounge wasn’t feeling so chill anymore. Our simple relaxing coffee break was ending with me in a quiet stressful panic. She wasn’t being bad, but if we didn’t leave soon, her playful cuteness would turn into crazy punk really quick. So in a last attempt to bargain I asked, “How about we go outside!?”

“Ummm, okay,” she said.

She stopped walking around, put her coat and hat on, grabbed her Snow Lady and held her hand out for me to hold. We walked out without a fuss and got home without any trouble. I tell ya, some days I feel like I’d make a great sales man. I guess you just need to know the right thing to say.

That was a close call! I wouldn’t have wanted to disturb anyone else’s chill. And next we need to escape the house, I now know that the Chill Lounge has a coloring zone perfect for a dad, a toddler, and a snow lady to warm up on a cold wet day.


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