The Ice Cream War

Gather around ol’ ‘Granpappy, kids. Did I ever tell you about the great Ice Cream War of ’14? Tommy, go get ol’ Granpappy some more vino out of the box there… that’s a good boy. Tellin’ stories is thirsty work…

Double-standard Espresso, Please

I admit I am a bit “funny” about food.

I generally believe that there is far too much added sugar, salt, and fat in the foods we eat. I also believe that if I don’t get my Utz Potato Chips (ingredients: potatoes, sunflower oil, salt) to go with my Jif Peanut Butter and store-brand Grape Jelly sandwich at lunch, there is no justice in the world, and someone is going to get shanked.

Some people call this hypocrisy–I call it being human.


As a parent, it’s even more perplexing. I can just about convince myself to believe any given set of arbitrary set of rules I want to follow, but my four kids are like a cheese-grater for rules.

“What about chicken nuggets? It’s chicken! That’s healthy!”

Why can’t we have chocolate chip pancakes? They’re home-made!”

Can I have a Popsicle? You said it was mostly water!”

Daddy, you’re making that up!”

If the rules are not self-evident, they take a disproportionate amount of effort to defend, and eventually get abandoned because it’s not important enough to waste my precious energy on.

It’s exhausting.

One by one, all of my pre-conceived rules and beliefs that I started with on my parenting journey have shriveled up and died under constant, relentless assault.

No TV in the car? Gone.

No juice on the couch? Gone.

We will all sit down and eat all our meals together? So, so gone.


I am down to just a handful of guiding principles:

  1. Keep a low profile
  2. Handle your business and I’ll leave you alone
  3. Don’t make life more difficult for anyone else if you can help it
  4. You can’t always control what gets done to you, but you must control how you react
  5. Hot things are hot

This works pretty well for the most part, although I struggle with “Hot things are hot” at the expense of my children’s vocabulary far too frequently.

I scream you scream

There’s a new development around the corner from us that has 5-story townhouses in it. My wife and I were on our way to a rare lunch date, and driving through the development we had a flash of inspiration.

“Are those… 5 story houses?”

“Wow, yeah, that’s a lot of stairs. Imagine all of the stomping up and down our kids do now, and then multiply that by five.”

“… wait, I think you’re on to something here. ‘Get back down here missy and stomp up those stairs again. All the way up! No that wasn’t loud enough, come all the back down and do it again!’ ”

“…You’re evil, but that’s brilliant.”

Our daughter, in particular, has decided that the Stair Stomp Of Death is her most favoritest way to register her disapproval with homework, insufficient sprinkles on her donuts, and/or she’s hungry and there is no food in her mouth yet.

STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp STOMP STOMP SLAM

Today alone, we’ve managed to get three separate runs up the stairs squeezed in between breakfast and bedtime.

I am negotiating with the electronic toll people to have a toll lane installed on our stairs for express-stomping during rush hour.

The most recent altercation involved ice cream.

Daddy can I have some ice cream?



“Um… no.”

You never let me have any ice cream? Why do you even buy it?”

“Yes, that last time I scooped out Ice Cream for you, I never let you have any.”


“I said no. And now I’m throwing it away because I’m tired of arguing about it. Again.”

Daddy NooooOOOOOOOoooooOOOOO!


Ice cream goes into trashcan. Daughter fishes ice cream out of trashcan. A scuffle ensues. An arm is bitten.

STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp STOMP STOMP SLAM

“Aaaaand now you’re grounded until Monday.”


No more ice cream.


What I meant to say was…

The thing is, I don’t really know why I make such a big deal about this. I mean, it’s only ice cream. We buy it. It’s illogical to buy it and not eat it. It just just doesn’t feel right, I guess. For me, that’s really the core issue. One of the lies I tell myself is that I am a consistent and reasonably rational person. If I can’t explain my actions, are they really sound?

So here’s what I really meant to say:

Dearest Daughter,

I know you wanted Ice Cream tonight. You made that abundantly clear. I also made abundantly clear that the answer was “No Ice Cream”. I don’t have the energy right now to properly explain my philosophy on nutrition and parenting, and even if I did you really  just don’t have the life experience to understand it because, contrary to what you think, you’re 10 going on 11 and not 10 going on 21. For now, you’re just going to have to accept “Because” as an answer. I hope we both live long enough to see you realize why.

Love always,


PS- My arm still hurts, so you’re still grounded.


5 thoughts on “The Ice Cream War

  1. Glad to know mine is not the only household wherein blood has been spilled over access to frozen lactose.


  2. Great story! Stomp, stomp, stomping. Could be my house too. Good thing I stopped giving a damn a few years ago. Sucks having a tantrum without an audience.


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