Discount Ice Cream

03/15/2009 By Shawn Burns

For some reason I owned a copy of humourist P.J. O’Rourke’s Modern Manners when I was in high school. I read it. I read it more than once. I laughed, because he’s kind of funny. (Recently he’s become hilarious and turned his eye on Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, if I’m remembering that Daily Show interview correctly.)

One chapter/lesson in the book, and the only one I remember with any clarity, was entitled “Never Give Your Cat Cocaine.”

Tonight, because we had a 2-for-1 coupon for Baskin & Robbins we learned “Never Give Your Toddler Ice Cream At Night.” It’s not that Erin didn’t love the Oreo Cookie ice cream she ate (all by her going-away-to-college-soon self), because she did. And it’s not that she scratched the hell out of the drapes (as a cocained cat might do). But she transformed, in the space of four bites, from mildly “hey-this-is-interesting-and-this-is-interesting-and-this-is-interesting Erin” into “Dad-I-can’t-believe-you’re-eating-my-ice-cream-o-m-g-O-M-G-Waaaaaaaah Erin”. She calmed down almost immediately, but then she became ridiculous.

The entire car ride home from the ice cream parlour (I’m not certain there’s a “u” in there for Canadians, but I like to err on the side of caution. Word up, Canada.) was one long staccato monologue from my suddenly completely wired tweaker daughter.

“Yes? Yes no. No nap. No. Yes. Doggy. Doggy. Doggy. Mickey Mouse. Mickey. Doggy. Woof. Woof. Woof. Dinosaur!!”

And I thought “Didn’t I just read somewhere that the whole “don’t give your kids sweets before bed” thing was bogus? That the time of day didn’t matter, it was something to do with over-sugaring your kids overall that would wire them?”

I’m no scientist, but this sure seemed like pretty good evidence against. My daughter was incapable of thinking still, much less sitting still.

Erin has always been excellent about bedtime. I think since the third night we put her down on her own (she cried for the first 20 minutes or so the first couple of nights, but adjusted stunningly quickly) she’s been falling asleep all on her own. She’s demanded on several occasions that we “just put me to bed already, guys. I’m exhausted!”

But it sure looked like ice cream before bed was going to be our undoing.

We arrived home, and changed her into her pajamas, gave her some milk, and sat down to watch some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She calmed immediately, then cuddled in with Emily in the chair. Calm as could be.

Hmm. So much for my debunking of that thing I read on the internet at some point last week.

“Ribbit! Ribbit! Ribbit!!!!”

Ah, that’s more like it. Time to hide the drapes.