Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Siren's Song

Today, I reinforced to my children that significant manipulation reaps rewards. Their mother, in spite of her relative intelligence, often participates in irrational behavior. Blame it on the song of the Siren.

This afternoon, with Indy on the way in less than an hour to drop off her eldest son to my care, I began making dinner and cleaning the house. We had just arrived home from Andrew’s piano lesson. He worked on his homework. I pounded out chicken breasts, breaded them, fried them, whipped up a spaghetti sauce from a can of tomatoes, boiled pasta, put away laundry, and coyly admonished Gladys and George for running around stopping on the floor to the rhythm of my meat pounding.

“Stop pounding on the floor! Right this instant!” Pound! Pound! Pound!

The house reverberated with the sounds and smells of a happy home.

The irrational behavior began when Indy left and I decided that at 5:15pm, the children should go ride their bikes instead of eating the dinner that I had so lovingly prepared. I put dinner in the warm oven, and went out with them.

I opened Henry’s tailgate and sat there reading my mail. I felt responsible. I would go through the mail and watch the kids – the queen of multitasking, and all that nonsense.

Then we heard a happy tune. The Siren’s song played in the distance.

The children went WILD. They raced off on their bikes towards the sound of the ice cream truck.

Ha! I did not have any money with me. The evil side of me laughed internally. I would survive this. My children would, indeed, eat a fine, homemade dinner, lovingly pounded, breaded, fried and warmed in the oven.

“Please, Mom?” There was a please. No one cried.

The ice cream truck stopped to serve the neighbor children at the corner of the cul-de-sac.

“Wow. That looks really good.”

“Yeah. I was really looking forward to ice cream.” No whining. No crying.

Then, the ice cream truck stopped to serve another child. My children followed the truck.

“My mom doesn’t have any money with her,” I heard Andrew explain to the person in the truck. He looked longingly at the selections.

Another child was served.

“Please, Mom?” No whining. No crying. They were still excited just to see the truck.

Neighbors with two children too small to appreciate the sound of the ice cream truck (until now) came hurrying out.

“Yeah, I’m the evil Mom,” I explained.

“You aren’t getting ice cream?” the neighbors looked at me like I was crazy.

“They haven’t had dinner yet.”

“We’ve only had it once before,” Indy’s son remarked flatly, no surprise in his voice.

I couldn’t take it. If they had screamed, I would have sent them all inside. If they had whined, I couldn’t possibly have bought any. I received no back-talk, no ridiculous demands. They were all smiling.

I told the ice cream vendor to meet us at the house with the white truck.

If you aren’t convinced my behavior was irrational, Indy’s son had leftovers. It is the truth. He said he was FULL. Wow. One of these days I will have to see just how much ice cream is required to make my children say they are “full.” I have never, ever, finished a cone for one of my children, even George.

Incidentally, they did end up eating a good dinner. I’m wondering if my remark to my husband about how I really shouldn’t have let them have it because it will ruin their dinner had any bearing. I’ll never know for sure, but maybe I’ll cling to that fantasy. It makes me feel more rational.

This is leftover ice cream. I had never seen it before. I had to take a picture.


Anna said...

Lol-leftover ice cream? You should try that on me. You may not WANT to know how much ice cream I can eat before I become full.

Ah, the joys of childhood.

Chickadee said...

My heart actually quickens at the sound of the truck. And I've never allowed my kids to get a treat. I'm thinking that tonight, if/when in the absence of whining, we'll indulge. Before dinner. Sounds totally rational to me.

Aunt Juicebox said...

Everyone needs to have dessert first at least once in their lives.

Laura said...

the picture of george was worth the price of the ice cream!

Nothing like ice cream on the tail gate of a truck.

Badass Geek said...

To me, the sound of the ice cream truck is one of the the true indicators of summer. Like a vehicular litmus paper test.

Oh, the memories.

Flea said...

Left over ice cream? NO WAY. You so did the right thing, mom.

Indy said...

So Ry didn't eat all of his icecream? That's why I can leave hershey kisses out in a bowl in my family room. Not a big eater. He did eat a full dinner before came over which is rare for him. Kyle throws away icecream cones too sometimes. Maybe it comes from Mike's family. Not mine!

MIT Mommy said...

Anna - I will have to experiment with that at some point.

Chickadee - You crack me up. No wonder you are so fit.

Heather - Three cheers (four in this case).

Laura - Yes. I bet your F150 could use some drippy ice cream. Your kids don't seem the type to leave leftovers though - they might not even let it drip.

Badass - Yeah, if the ice cream truck showed up in your town, I'm sure you would be out there.

Flea - Unbelievable, isn't it?

Indy - So, uh, what DO you do with leftover ice cream? Oh, that's right, you are pregnant. Silly question!!

OHmommy said...

First off, my word identification says "plesse"

Second off, you know you are a blogger when you take a photo of a 1/2 eaten ice cream bar.

Anonymous said...

If I'd been there, you'd have had no third photo for this post.

MIT Mommy said...

splodge - you just reminded me that I have a half eaten ice cream in my freezer. I will eat it now. I admit to forgetting to eat frequently. I have a lot in common with Indy's son Ry.