“Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.”
― Don Kardong
When I want to throttle my kids, I take them out for ice cream. They’re screaming, beating on each other, whining, complaining―you name the most undesired behaviour, the thing that makes you understand why parents batter their children―and I’m about to turn into evil monster mommy who’ll out-scream and out-whine them―when they’re so bad―and I use that weighty word advisedly, because they’re so bad not even the most Pollyanist attachment parent guru could put a positive spin on what they are doing―when they’re so bad I want to freecycle all three of them, and maybe throw in my partner for good measure cause, you know, he contributed half the genetic material that gave rise to those monsters―when I’m completely at the end of my rope and about to start screaming, my absolutely full-proof, never-fail strategy is to take the kids out for ice cream.
The nearest ice cream place near our house is a 15-20 minute walk away, over a couple of bridges and through a lovely park. It gets us out of the house and into the outdoors, which is often enough to reset the entire day, to give us a clean start.
The weather where we live sucks much of the time, so we’re not always up for the walk. ‘s okay. The nearest drive-through ice cream place is a 15-20 minute drive away. “Ice cream” as a rallying call makes getting three kids into the car a piece of cake (especially if the alternative is staying in the house with Psycho Mom). They’re restrained in car seats. I pop in a book on tape. And there is 20 minutes of silence and looking forward to ice cream―followed by devouring of ice cream, and thank yous, and appreciation of each other.
To make ice cream, we need to walk to the grocery store―about a 25 minute walk at kid pace, or 5 minutes in the car or by bike. Gets us out too. Then back. Then working together to create a treat. (We make lazy Vitamix ice cream that’s ready in 1 minute. Yum.)
Ice cream discipline works―without fail―because it creates a disruption in the negative behaviour pattern we’ve all gotten into. It’s the reset button. And it’s, you know, ice cream.
Worried that it rewards bad behaviour? It doesn’t. It stops it. On my part, as well as theirs. And lets enjoy each other again―and have a pretty good rest of the day.
“Have you ever spent days and days and days making up flavors of ice cream that no one’s ever eaten before? Like chicken and telepone ice cream? Green mouse ice cream was the worst. I didn’t like that at all.” ― Neil Gaiman , The Sandman, Vol. 7: Brief Lives
For more ice cream quotes, go visit this page of Good Reads.
Now, I know you can’t always get out for ice cream in the middle of a disaster of a day. Ice Cream Discipline’s sister strategy is coming tomorrow.
What’s your fool-proof “the kids get to live!”/”reset” strategy?