The arrival of summer means that it’s ice cream season here in the United States. Frozen sugary goodness will be purchased, consumed, enjoyed, (and also, yes, regretted by some) at high rates from June through August. Like so many aspects of parenting, the key with ice cream and kids is to not only be prepared, but to always always expect the worst. If you keep the following in mind, you should make it to September without too much stickiness:
“What kind of cone do you want?”: Oh the decisions! Wafer, sugar, or waffle cone? This important decision could hold up the line anywhere from two minutes to several days. The suspense will surely kill the parents, the ice cream scooper, and everyone in the shoppe. Just be proactive and make this decision for your child when you get up to the counter. If you catch any flack from your little bundle of ambivalence, just suggest that the other ones miiiiight taste like broccoli.
“Are you sure you want a cup?”: If your child decides to order ice cream in a cup – perhaps to emulate some extra cool-adults he has known since birth – your instinct might be to applaud him for his mature choices, but most likely you’re about to witness a debilitating case of buyer’s remorse. For this reason, you should order a cone anyway. Tuck it in your bag or stick it upside down in the cup, just in case. If you don’t do this, you may find yourself waiting in a very long line to rectify the situation.
“Be careful or it’s going to fall.” If you have ever witnessed a whole scoop of ice cream plop off the top of a cone onto the ground, you know that gravity is an extremely evil force. If you suspect that your child’s scoop is not secure, press down on it with your finger or your tongue in an attempt to adhere it to the cone. If you still suspect a structural vulnerability, follow your child around with a napkin ready in your palm as if it’s a catcher’s mitt.
“Can I interest you in anything other than chocolate?” As much as your child covets ice cream, a large percentage of it will inevitably end up on his shirt and chocolate-based flavors tend to stain. If, like me, you are really averse to laundry and stain scrubbing, you may even claim that the establishment doesn’t offer chocolate ice cream. Of course, this claim will be quickly refuted by children who are able to read (and/or when another child orders and receives it). Really, the only solution is to dress your child in brown shirts and shorts all summer long.
“Eat it fast or it’s going to melt.”: As skilled as your child has become at the ABC’s and even singing songs in another language, figuring out which part of the ice cream cone to lick in order to prevent it from melting down his hand, then dripping from his elbow onto his shoes eludes him. The only thing you can do in this case is to take matters into your own hands… that is, take the cone into your own hand and do some high-calorie clean-up work. While you usually dislike cleaning, this is a job you must accept: as we all know, to be a parent, is to be selfless.
So go forth and let them eat ice cream… and indulge in some yourself, despite the sugar highs and subsequent crashes. Be brave, stay alert, and make sure to do what your kids don’t need to in order to balance it all out: extra sit-ups.
Jocelyn Jane Cox is a freelance writer and author. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.
The Chronicles of Parenting is sponsored by Blue Rock School.