It’s always the way – I’ve been trying to cajole my kids away from the park for about an hour and just as we’re about to finally bust a move I hear that familiar tinkle…
Inside my stress levels start to rise but I keep my eyes focused on the task ahead, I don’t react. Perhaps they won’t notice?
‘OOOh what’s the lovely sound?’ remarks the biggest one.
‘I CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING!‘ I say loudly trying to block it all out. ‘ALL I CAN HEAR IS THE SOUND OF US PUTTING EVERYTHING BACK IN THE BUGGY AND GETTING READY TO GO HOME. THERE ARE DEFINITELY NO OTHER SOUNDS, AT ALL, TO BE HEARD HERE’.
‘But I think I hear the music of ice-cream!’ he says.
(Apparently as a parent you can trick your kids by saying the music means they have sold out but whoever came up with this idea clearly had stupid kids cos mine aren’t falling for that bullsh*t. Why can’t ice-cream be silent! Why does everything need a bloody theme tune these days?!)
…Oh and look, now the littlest one is bouncing around like some god-dam wind up toy at the very mention of THAT word.
I look at my watch, It’s 4.45pm. Of course it’s 4.45pm! Why do they always show up just before tea time? And when did I become such a boring, uptight cow?
I reason that a little Mini Milk might work to keep the peace without ruining their appetites (#mug) and we move cautiously towards the van. The guy smiles at me. He seems nice but we are never going to be friends for our food related objectives are severely misaligned. I want my kids to occasionally eat savoury things at meal times, he would like them to have ice-cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner between the months of April and October.
I ask the biggest one which flavour Mini Milk he would like and he gives me the kind of looks that says ‘Are you kidding me bitch?! I’m 4!’
Perhaps a small ice cream then?
He looks at the board and immediately points at the most toxic looking thing you ever saw.
‘A strawberry Mini Milk and a SMALL Mr. Whippy I say’ pretending not to see.
He seems pleased and I feel slightly victorious.
‘Would you like sauce?’ says the guy.
‘YES! YES! Green sauce please!’ Interrupts the boy
Errrr WTF even is the green sauce?!
I feel any control I had over the situation, slowly melting away…
‘And a flake? Or I can pop a little ice lolly in there if you like?
‘A LOLLY OH YES A LOLLY! I LOVE LOLLIES! I LOVE IT ALL!!’
I had been trying to remain impartial and think good, nice thoughts, but now…
I HATE THIS ICE CREAM GUY!
I hand over about £50 and give him my very best F*CK YOU VERY MUCH death stare.
‘Oh and just for today Madam I am offering to spray kids with our new EZY E’s aerosol for free! It’s basically a highly concentrated mist of every single E number in existence, that is absorbed quickly through the pores into the bloodstream – guaranteed to keep em buzzing till 10pm! Interested?
‘GREAT! Why the hell not. As they say – In for a penny, IN FOR A SODDING POUND!’
Finally we make our way home feeling a bit broken (me) and a bit like a pair of demented hyenas (them). I wonder if making em down a few shots of Johnson’s Bedtime Bath would help preserve my valuable evening hours?
Probably not. But at least I won’t have to bother with dinner. And of course, there is always gin…
[Please note this post was intended with humour, Ice-cream van peeps I love you really. Just don’t turn up just before tea or I’ll have to remove your eyes. With a fork. THANK YOU!]
**************P.S. My new book The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks is out on the 3rd March 2022! It's aimed at 9-12 year olds and you can buy it here :)