June 29, 2009 by Shannon
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that you can’t turn back the clock. But over the weekend, I got pretty close.
I was feeling wistful during our quick weekend getaway because Kellan slept in a “big boy” twin bed for the first time ever. He sleeps in a converted crib at home, which to me, isn’t really a real bed. But a twin? I almost wanted to cry, looking at him nestled in there like a true big kid.
Then I got a couple of rare treats on Saturday night — Kellan fell asleep in a restaurant, in my arms. I snuggled him, tried in vain to wake him for pizza and instantly flashed back to the time when he would finish nursing and zonk out as if he hadn’t slept in days. How nice it felt to pretend — just for an hour or so — that he was my little cuddle bug again. Finally, his dad managed to wake him up, and after a little pizza and pasta, we took him to get a treat.
We stopped by the same place where Kellan had his very first ice cream cone almost a year ago and it soon became clear that although he may be a year older and a year wiser, his ice cream eating skills have not advanced. At all.
Here’s how Kellan approaches the cone: he slips his tongue out between his lips ever so slightly and touches — not licks — the ice cream. Now picture that technique in your mind, coupled with the kind of cone he had. It was basically the size of TWO fists. Pretty big for such a little kid.
With that much frozen goodness and Kellan’s slow pace, I knew I had no choice. Once the ice cream started looking dangerously drippy, I took the cone, instructed him to open his mouth, and dragged it across his tongue. Over and over and over. I was so immersed in the cleanup that it took me a minute to notice what was happening around us — belly busting laughs from my husband, his brother and his wife. After I swiped the cone on Kellan’s chin to catch a big melty chunk, my brother-in-law pointed out that you can’t clean up ice cream with ice cream. Wise assertion.
Once Kellan and I got the sides sufficiently cleaned up, I handed the cone back and hoped he learned a thing or two about the art of enjoying ice cream. After all, what kind of mother would I be if I had to throw away that much melty chocolate goodness? I just couldn’t live with myself if it came to that.
I don’t think he learned any new techniques because we had to repeat the cone cleanup several times. There were more rounds of belly busting laughs, and I think half of the ice cream ended up on his face. (The top picture was taken after several face cleanings.) And I have to say — what is up with ice cream shops and their ridiculous excuses for napkins? You know, those thin little wisps of paper that are the size of a 3×5 card? What good does that do anyone?
On second thought, maybe those shops are just doing parents a favor. I’ll take a sloppy, drippy ice cream experience over a clean and tidy kid — any day. Because eventually, there will come a time that my boy won’t need any help in the art of ice cream enjoyment.