Friday, June 8, 2012

Resisting the Ice Cream Truck

The boys snuggled under a blanket and enjoyed a movie.

Finding a respite from the heat, the boys nestled under a blanket and enjoyed a Friday night flick under the whir of the air conditioner.  I putzed around the kitchen, fluttering between dinner prep and the computer screen.  That's when I heard it, the faint jingly sounds of the ice cream truck.  I stopped and prayed the movie noise would drown out the chimes.  No such luck.  For four boys that can't hear my ear-splitting screams to "clean up their room," they have bat-like hearing when it comes to the distant sounds of the ice cream truck.  

Four boys rushed to the windows and placed their noses to the glass.  They strained their necks to catch the first glimpse of the truck.  Once the first son spotted the ice cream truck, it was over.  The begging, pleading, and gnashing of teeth began.

For years, the boys didn't quite "get" the ice cream truck.  They thought it was a truck that merely carted ice cream around the streets and belted out beautiful serenades for the neighbor kids.  They had no idea ice cream could actually be purchased from the truck.  I was well aware of their confusion, but certainly did nothing to rectify the misunderstanding.  Ignorance is bliss, I reasoned (and cheaper).  

But then the ice cream truck visited the boys' preschool on the last day of school.  The preschool teachers escorted all the children out to the truck and handed each and every student a frozen treat from within the confines of the truck.  My boys were amazed.  They rushed home and announced that the ice cream truck not only drives around the neighborhood, but it distributes ice cream too.  I feigned just as much surprise/excitement as they did.  

I know.  I know.  Don't judge.

Since then, ice cream truck bells emit a pavlovian response in the boys.  They hear the chimes and they know to:  1) run outside, 2) yell for mom, 3)  beg and plead.  So far, I've held firm.  I've yet to allow the boys to purchase an ice cream from the truck.  I certainly don't want to deprive them of a staple of childhood, but I also don't want to encourage the whining and expectations that ice cream truck chimes = mom always buying an ice cream treat.

Tonight, the boys watched the ice cream truck float by our house.  I reminded them we didn't need the ice cream truck as a tub of ice cream rested in our freezer.  They shot me a look that said, "What's the fun in that?"

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