In Which I Reach a Détente with the Ice Cream Man

I have a friend who, when her kids were small, managed to convince them that the truck that came tinkling down her street every night during the warm months was a “music truck,” with no other purpose than to spread off-key joy to the neighborhood.

I totally support her blatant lie.

My kids are inveterate whiners and shameless panhandlers when it comes to the ice cream truck. We barely get through two bars of “The Entertainer” before they are wild-eyed and shrieking and doing a confused dance in which they’re not sure whether to rifle through mommy’s purse first, or to sprint down the street and stop the man before he drives away because oh my God the lack of overpriced Good Humor treats would be a summertime tragedy!!!!!

Can you tell I am Not A Fan of the ice cream guy?

This year I am trying a new approach. Sitting on a shelf in the Blue Room are three envelopes with my kids’ names on them, each containing $10. They know that this is their money to spend on Batman- and Dora-shaped popsicles with gross bubblegum eyeballs or whatever else they want. When the money is gone, it’s gone.

I will report back in late September on this latest experiment in parenting parkour.

12 thoughts on “In Which I Reach a Détente with the Ice Cream Man

  1. Erica

    Yeah, I’m realizing that pushing the helados (which seem to have actual fruit in them) instead of the Doras is a loosing battle. (And, we have the added issue of the push carts at the beach–aka grandma’s backyard–during Chicago summers).

  2. Jane

    As an unrepentant purveyor of the “Music Truck” fabrication (a lie of omission, I suppose– it *was* a truck, and it *did* play music), I applaud your efforts. Hope it helps.

  3. Melanie

    I remember the ice cream truck from many years ago when I was a little girl growing up in Florida. It was such a treat on such hot evening and it was somehow so exciting and special. Great memories of fun times with my friends and family.

  4. Keith Snyder

    I don’t push helado because of the fruit–it’s just more a local thing than the Mr Softee truck is. (We live in a Dominican neighborhood.)

    There are occasional truck purchases, but the helado people push their carts into the playgrounds, so it’s also easier. Cheaper, too.

  5. Silent

    We happened to turn on the tv recently to a Dateline episode about “Stranger Danger” using an ice cream truck. We watched some of it with my 4 year old, thinking it would be good to talk about with her even if a bit over her head right now. However, I now think she’s scared of all ice cream trucks! Not quite the intended consequence…but it could be worse.

  6. John Porter

    I tried a similar approach once – I’ll bet that the envelopes have to be replenished sometime before Aug.15. I took more willpower than I had to let the envelopes run dry.

  7. Bob Braxton

    I trust each has the option of “saving” (and tithing) the ten dollars. If the envelope contents can be used but only for ice cream, it may just “burn a hole in” the paper pocket (word my 1800’s grandmother used for a paper sack). If it can be used for other things, who knows – someday it may go toward a Dungeons and Dragons subscription, the next big Apple product or a game of WFF’n’Proof (the legendary):


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