The Ice Cream Truck Infiltration

4649419525_ffffe3eb16_b (2)Depending on who you talk to in my house, the ice cream truck that trolls roams the neighborhood for tiny victims consumers, is touted as either a rite of passage or my nemesis. During my sons’ early years, when the truck was trolling, I called it The Music Truck. I got mileage out of this for several years, and my sons never suspected a thing. Until one day there was a line of kids outside the truck which was stopped in front of our house, with children slurping, licking, and munching on iced confections. The cat was out of the bag. (Fortunately, for me, it never occurred to my sons that it wasn’t a music truck after all, they thought that the music truck had conveniently started selling ice cream. Whew.)

My sons absolutely lose their minds when they hear the tinny sound of The Entertainer winding up the street. The pull is so strong, it is almost Pavlovian in nature. A wide spread panic sets in as they scramble to get suitably clothed (don’t ask) and search for the piggy bank just for this occasion. Whichever boy is fastest to dress in the most minimal attire grabs the money, runs out to the waiting truck (or down the street if necessary) and brings back their brother’s favorite frozen delight as well as their own.

My oldest son, an avid negotiator, has been known to wear down even the most patient ice cream truck proprietor and often returns with free additional “extras”. I am usually out of earshot, but still watching the interaction, supervising. I look on as they point to various ice cream choices over and over again. While I am wondering why the transaction is taking so long, my son often returns with an armful of ice cream as I realize I only gave him enough money for about half of his haul.

So what is the big deal? I have several issues with the ice cream truck. First, it often comes between 5 and 6 pm – usually before our dinner time. Second, the truck actually idles in front of our house, trying to woo my offspring. I have a major problem with that. Third, the ice cream is way more expensive than if I bought it at the store (not to mention I would purchase healthier versions). And finally, the most annoying concern is that, the ice cream tastes, well, mediocre at best. Infused with colorful gumballs and shaped like cartoon characters and patriotic torpedoes they are touted as “epic ice cream”.

Let it be known that I have no issue with ice cream trucks at pools, festivals, or the like. It is the infiltration into our lives at home that bothers me – and you never know when to expect this unwanted interloper.

64e847254689bfaa_screen_shot_2011-05-03_at_10-53-40_am-previewOn the other hand, send a Ben & Jerry’s truck down our street, and that is a quality service that I can get behind. But until then, I cringe every time I hear the infringing sound of the ice cream truck meandering through our neighborhood.

Interestingly, I had full knowledge of the ice cream truck territory in our neighborhood before we bought our house. Back then, I thought it was all part of the charm of the neighborhood. I never anticipated this change of heart.

My husband and I differ on our perspectives. He believes it is a children’s rite of passage and the epitome of summer time fun (I helpfully point out that we are lucky enough to experience this seasonal fun from April through October). So my husband usually deals with the mayhem when the ice cream truck makes it’s appearance. And when it is my turn, I try and just focus on my son’s gleeful faces when they are excitedly enjoying their mediocre treats.

So neighbors, if you see my sons running pell-mell down the street, clad in only shorts, you’ll know why.

Do your kids go wild for the ice cream truck? And if the ice cream truck visits your neighborhood, do you love it or hate it?