Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cool Kid Corner

Nike high-tops and slouchy cool clothes, a cigarette in one hand and a phone in the other. The epitome of an urban "Cool Kid", a young man leans against the corner of a cafe as I walk by with Pippin. Or try to walk by.

                    





My one-year-old suddenly stops in the middle of the sidewalk to stare. And stare some more. He does this often - postman? neighbor lady? cashier? Stare at them! I just wait and offer a smile to the stranger. The smell of marijuana drifts past us.

"Hi there! ... What? No, I wasn't talking to you, there's a little kid staring at me...." He nods to us from beneath his well-groomed Afro. We get a little smile.

I give Pippin's hand a little tug. It's nearly dinnertime. "Kom, lieverd, we gaan zo eten." Come, dear, we're going to eat soon. He ignores me (as well as the word 'eat').

                           

There's a pause.
I wait, and then give another little tug.
Another pause.

Then the young man takes two steps toward us.

He crouches down to Pippin's height and holds out his fist.
"Man power!" he says.
Pippin has no idea what's going on right now, but I imagine he'll be great at this ritual in another year or two.

                  

"Box," I say, reaching down. I help Pippin close his hand, then give the young man a fist-bump. I wish I had a photo of the two hands, the two faces. The two Rotterdammers. Unscripted, unstaged. It's one of my proudest urban-mom moments.

Maybe the fist-bump was what Pippin had been waiting for all along. The young man steps back to his cool corner. And my little man decides he's ready to toddle home to his dinner....


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