I haven’t seen an ice cream truck since I was a little kid, and back then my brothers and I pretty much had to watch all the other kids get Choco Tacos, 50/50 Bars, Drumsticks, and Fudgsicles because we were poor and our parents could not afford such things and six packs of cigarettes a day between them. But this post isn’t about my traumatic childhood, although I did digress having provided myself with the slightest prompt. Recently, I heard that unmistakable jingle coming down our street and I knew in an instant that I was either having a very bad flashback, or we have a neighborhood with an ice cream truck. Having no history with hard drugs despite the aforementioned childhood, I figured it had to be a real ice cream truck. Laura asked me what that sound was, and I hesitated for just a moment, or two, or three.
Causes of Momentary Hesitation:
1. A constant battle rages within me to give Laura everything that I didn’t get to have as a child versus limiting that to what is appropriate and reasonable so as not to spoil the child. I checked my gut. No raging.
2. I knew that if I clued Laura in to what that jingling truck had inside of it, I would be dashing outside all summer long to chase it down the street with her. On the other hand, if I didn’t clue her in, then surely some kid in the neighborhood would have the security clearance to provide her with this classified information anyway.
3. Typically I’m of the ilk who feeds her child fruit-sweetened, organic soy ice cream. And although Laura has been able to get dairy and sugar from her dealers on the streets, like other mothers at birthday parties, so far she hasn’t complained about the health-food kind she gets at home. On the other hand, I wanted to make sure that she had her first truck-bought ice cream with me.
The brief period of maternal hesitation was behind us. All systems go. I hollered to Laura, “Let’s go! Let’s go! Follow me!” I grabbed my wallet. Then I grabbed my shoeless child. I began to run. Sensing something spectacular was about to go down, she was fully cooperative and began to run too. Still, Laura looked stunned when she asked if she should grab her flip flops on the way out the door and I said, “No, just keep running!” She’s always had to put on shoes to go outside before. But she’d never run after the ice cream truck before. And we all know that children must be barefoot as they run for the ice cream truck. It’s an unwritten law. We caught the truck, and Laura could hardly believe her eyes when she saw all of the goodies from which she could choose. She picked out a treat, ate every bite of it, and thought I was the best mommy God ever made. Now when she hears the truck, Laura rallies the troops by running through the house screaming, “Let’s go! Do you hear it? Listen! We have to catch him! Let’s go!” On one such afternoon as we were dashing out the door, I caught a glimpse of the reproachful look on Tom’s face. He had a point. And he helps me keep item one listed above in check. So, when we got outside I said to Laura, “We are not going to be chasing the ice cream truck every time because it wouldn’t be good for you to eat treats every day. You know that treats are only for once in a while.” She replied in very mature manner, “Oh, I know. That’s not a problem, Mom.” That was too easy, I thought. And I was right. Laura added, “We’ll only chase it on the days that we are home to hear it. The days that we don’t hear it will be the days that we don’t get ice cream.”