Tea for Tots

No need to clear the trains before the children pour for one another.

No need to clear the trains before the children pour for one another.

When we welcomed our first child into our tea-loving household, I had grand visions of teaching him to drink tea as soon as he could hold a cup. At his first birthday, I bought him a beautiful porcelain tea set. He took to it brilliantly.

Friends warned, of course, that our next child might not be so compatible with a tea set. They raised their eyebrows in surprise when they saw my son politely sipping Keemun (with lots of milk and sugar) or tasting our decaffeinated Earl Grey. But my daughter proved wrong their skeptical looks, joining her brother enthusiastically in preschool tea parties as soon as she could walk. They took turns pouring and serving biscuits, gathered round the living room tea table in my perfect vision of familial tea bliss.

The problem came when I had the bright idea of sharing our little tea tradition. We invited a couple of tea loving parents over for a tea party, thinking, “Hey, their children are about the same age. Their parents love tea. This should go great!”

We only lost two saucers and a cup before I realized that most toddlers think of porcelain tea sets as projectiles, not instruments of ceremony and joy. Enter the recycled plastic tea cups. Tea was poured. On the floor. And the couch.

Even with the general lack of tea conditioning among the preschool set, I refuse to give up my grand vision of drawing my children into the family tea culture. We welcomed twins in the spring, and what did I rush to add to the baby registry? An additional porcelain tea set, of course. A year from now, I expect we’ll be introducing Darjeeling to our newest little darlings.

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