When I was growing up, the ice cream truck would drive around my small town during the summer. In the rare instances that the stars aligned, and my Mom or Dad would have both money and the willingness to part with it in the name of ice cream, we would cheer with joy. After all, most days we were relegated to boxes of Neapolitan ice cream frosted over in the freezer. Back then, the ice cream truck made special and rare appearnces, but here Mister Softee is seemingly everywhere. There is one parked across from the neighborhood train station and another truck by the park we frequent. The one in our neighborhood stays parked all day long. Every. Single. Day. One can imagine the choruses of "Can I have some" that ring through the air every time we get near it. Munchkin barely talks, yet I fear her first full sentence will be, "Can I have some ice cream!" followed by "Pleeeeeeeease!!"
One day as we hauled our four kids home from a long day at the park, my friend Brigid asked, "Is it bad that I promised the kids ice cream again today?" I didn't really have an answer. Our kids eat healthy food and, at home, dessert usually consists of fruit, not sweets. Will their health really be affected if they eat ice cream a few days a week? My main concern is developing good habits as a family. The kids know not to expect piles of candy at home nor junk food disguised as healthy snacks. I think the only habit formed by infrequenty stopping by an ice cream truck is the habit of asking whether the infrequent stop to the ice cream truck can happen NOW.
So how do I say no to ice cream when it's so close so often? It's not easy. Sometimes the kids have already had a treat, so i remind them of that. Other times, I tell them no because it's almost dinner time. It's impressive how Monkey can remember something naughty for weeks but forgets the word "No" approximately .3589 seconds after I've uttered it. I don't blame the kids for asking, but I don't enjoy the pouting afterwards. My current solution has been to tell them that there is ice cream at home for us to eat later. However, 99% of the time, they forget about the ice cream until they hear the Mister Softee jingle the next day. That means that the carton of Neapolitan ice cream in the freezer is going to last a very long time. Take that Mister Softee!
How often is too often? Vote now at the GMvBM homepage.
If you want to be discouraged from eating your very own cone of soft serve, check out the nutritional info. I've probably just ruined my chances of ever being sponsored by Mister Softee.
If you miss the sound of the Mister Softee Truck a) You must not live within a 10-mile radius of New York City and b) You can download your very own Mister Softee ringtone. Mister Softee is evidently way cooler than I thought.