Dear Ice Cream Truck,
Listen, I don’t want to be the Ebenezer Scrooge of summer fun. But I’m going to be straight with you: I need you to stop coming to my neighborhood so much. I just can’t take it anymore.
I know you mean well, with your cute music and your irresistible array of favorite childhood treats. I know you seek to bring joy to all kids as you signal your arrival with a loud instrumental rendition of some nursery rhyme I can no longer remember.
Your arrival sparks instant and complete full-body excitement in all four of my children. It does not matter what activity my kids are engaged in — eating dinner, reading a book, taking a bath, getting dressed — they lose all sense of reality and become completely feral the moment they hear that song. At this point I wonder if you are completely screwing with me?
Last week, for instance, I had successfully corralled them all into the house after a very long, fruitful afternoon playing outside. The transition was brutal, complete with multiple melt-downs and arguments, and just as I calmed them down, got their shoes off and their hands washed, there you were. Excitement quickly turned to sadness and frustration when I denied their request. All my gentle parenting goodness is now completely undone by one drive-by, leaving my house in a puddle of chaos.
Or the time I was taking a shower, having strategically placed my 2-year-old right inside the door (she’s a known escape artist) while the other three were watching a show. I heard the echoing vehicle song mid-shampoo, followed by excited screams and audibly fast footsteps. I barely had time to throw on clothes (NO undergarments!) before sprinting down the street barefoot after my crew.
Last night was the last straw. You arrived just seconds before dinner was served. I was plating the food when my 5-year-old daughter spotted you out the window and began screaming “Ice cream truck! Ice cream truck!” at the top of her lungs until her three siblings came running. And how do you think my 2-year-old handled being told she needed to eat her chicken before her handheld sherbet PowerPuff girl with bubble gum eyes? You guessed it: not well!
In the pool or on the couch, on their bikes or in their beds, when you show up, it wreaks temporary chaos on my house which is either eased with a nice sugary treat, or exacerbated by my refusal to indulge them. And while I am cool with playing this game every once in a while, every single day is taking its toll on both my wallet and my sanity.
So I come to you with a friendly plea. I understand that you are responsible for someone’s livelihood and I respect the joy that you bring my children. But maybe we put a predictable schedule in place. And maybe you widen your route just a tad, making each stop a little less frequent. I mean, it would be nice to see some new faces every once in a while, wouldn’t it?
But despite the upheaval you can create in my house, I will always love you. Because the joy you bring is unmatched. I remember it from my own childhood – the rush of endorphins created by your song. Chasing you down in bare feet and ordering a Choco Taco and three CryBaby gumballs with my allowance money. It’s summer magic.
But please, not every day. I think that’s fair.
Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.