Where I recount an evening trip for ice cream
We went out for ice cream last night.
Normally, this isn’t big news – but when you’re the parent of toddlers, it is1. We have a little mom & pop place, not too far from the house, that makes some wonderful ice cream . . . so we packed the kids into my truck and off we went.
This little mom & pop ice cream place offers little kids free “kiddie cones,” and CJ is an old hat with these. Leila, up to this point, however, has always eaten from one (or both) of his parent’s cones.
I got salted caramel ice cream, Duffy & CJ got chocolate, and, as it appears that Leila may have inherited my “chocolate is absolutely icky” gene, she got raspberry.
We expected a mess . . . that’s about all I can say as to what we were expecting. What we got — just wow.
Every single time Leila took a lick of the ice cream cone, it was pure joy. She’d smile. She’d giggle. She’d jump up and down. She’d squeal in delight. She’d run around, find something to “hide behind” and play peekaboo.
Then she’d put herself into a sumo-wrestler pose and go through the whole thing again.
Every lick delivered boundless joy. It made me actually sad . . . because, sure, there are times that I get such joy . . . I’m thinking about the first drop of a roller coaster if it’s been awhile, but, the next time, it’s just a little bit lessened. There was none of that here . . . each lick was pure, unadulterated joy.
The more astute of you might notice that I keep saying “lick,” though . . . and never bite.
And toddler licks are very, very small licks.
And the ice cream was melting, everywhere.
And we had places to be.
After awhile, when the ice cream cone was more soup than ice cream, she stopped eating it as frequently. But, when we asked her if she was done, we received an emphatic “no” and she would walk away from us.
“Well, if you’re not done, you better eat it” we’d say, and she’d take a lick, and she’s squeal, and she’d be happier than she’d ever been before.
The time that we had to leave, though, approached . . and I became the meanest father, ever.
When Leila pulled the ice cream cone away from Duffy‘s reach, I grabbed it from her and threw it out (I’d have eaten it, but it was mess of smooshed cake cone and soupy ice cream and napkin).
The protest was immediate.
She screamed. She went to the trash can, reaching in, trying to retrieve her precious. When we tried to console her, she went “wet noodle” and flopped to the ground. When we tried to clean her hands & face & clothes, she informed that the baby wipe had the consistency of barbed wire.
The tantrum continued through the ride . . . it wasn’t until she could start watching Charlotte’s Web on DVD that she could be consistently distracted.
So, I truly regret the fact that I no longer feel such pure joy as that of a toddler . . . I’m quite appreciative that my world doesn’t collapse every time there’s a disappointment.