I have always believed in my heart of hearts that ice cream is God's gift to dessert. It is the perfect treat. Sweet but not too sweet, blessedly compatible with chocolate, and it even has some honest-to-goodness nutritional value mixed in with all the fat and calories.
As of this weekend, I'm in the market for a new dessert.
My wonderful au pair has been running the kids ragged all summer. Long neighborhood walks, trips to the park with a soccer ball, and hours and hours at the pool. All three of them are brown as berries - and yes, that includes my redhead. My water-phobic oldest is learning to swim. And my diva, already a fish, has actually grown gills. The kids are active, active, active.
As a result, come the weekends, they are utterly fried.
This past Saturday, I tried to get them out of the house. I tried to take them to the pool. I tried to take them to the park. Nope. They wanted to sit at home and sleep and snack and watch TV. Can't say as I blame them. But me, I work from my house. I sleep at my house. I am always, always at my house.
I needed to get out of my house.
So I resorted to a bribe. I promised them a trip to Maggie Moo's. Like me, they'll do pretty much anything for ice cream.
Maggie Moo's is cool - one of those cold marble places where they mix up a bunch of stuff and put it into a cup. My little guy went straight-up chocolate with M&Ms. Good choice, though I'm still trying to get the stains out of his white T-shirt. The two oldest, though - they have really odd taste in ice cream, I gotta say. Both of them picked this sickly sweet, bright blue, cotton candy flavor. And then they mixed it with mint. Yes, mint. Oh, and the add-ins. My oldest added Reese's Cups and Heath bars. And my diva, she put in peanut butter and white chocolate chips.
And then they had dinner. Meatballs. Apples. A little pasta.
By the time the three of them headed up to bed, my diva was looking somewhat green around those new gills. Then, as I was turning off the light and saying a hushed good-night, she exploded, sending a sea of bright, neon blue vomit all over her bed. I rushed her into the bathroom, where the explosion just kept coming. The poor thing was sobbing and retching and sobbing, all at once.
This is where the single mom thing gets really tough. I had to leave her sitting there. It's the last thing you want to do when your baby is sick and crying. But they all share a room. My boys were exhausted and needed to sleep, and it smelled awful, and cleaning up was going to take a very, very long time. So, in the space of about 30 seconds, I dashed into the bedroom, stripped the bed, spritzed some air freshener, said good-night and closed the door.
Then I rushed back into the bathroom. By then there was blue everywhere. In her hair, all over her pajamas, on the floor, the tub, the cabinets. The poor girl had nothing left. She was just standing there, miserable and wet and stinky. I put her gently in the shower, and while she washed, I disinfected everything. When the blue was gone at last, my diva crawled onto the futon in our playroom, snuggled up beside me and fell fast asleep.
It was over. No middle of the night wake-up calls. No post-breakfast nausea. Other than having to listen to my boys enumerate in great detail and with great glee all the contents of their sister's blue spew the next morning, it was over.
But, as God is my witness, we are never having ice cream again.