Mighty Life List: Watch Hank eat his first ice cream cone.

19th May 2009

Lots of parents aren’t particularly concerned about stuff on their kids’ faces. This is because you can wipe a child’s face, leave the room to throw out the tissue, and return to find them covered with snot and dog hair. You’re standing there thinking, “We don’t even own a dog.” Well, that’s beside the point. The point is that keeping your kid’s face clean is like pushing a boulder uphill. Except the boulder has teeth, and can scream.

When I was child free, I’d laugh nervously when people passed me their baby food-covered kids. Then I’d lunge for the nearest napkin before the baby could slime my sweater. I always figured I’d grow out of that when I had my own kids, but instead I just chase Hank around with baby wipes all day. The result is a remarkably fastidious kid who would prefer not to touch anything that might leave a residue. He has a very conflicted relationship with bananas.

For some reason, I didn’t ponder this much when we took him out for his first ice cream cone. It was the first warm day we’ve had since he’s been old enough to hold his own cone, and I could barely wait. I’d somehow failed to remember that the kid who loves to play in mud and sand, and splash in puddles had to be taught that all those things were cool. We weren’t going to rush at him screaming, “Noooooooooo!” and then whisk off all his clothing to go soak it in the bathtub. Mud all over your shirt? Yes. Smoothie and dog hair all over your shirt? No. These are complex distinctions.

So we convinced Hank to hold his cone the way we convince him to do anything scary. Outright bribery. As you may recall, Hank will only be bribed with chocolate. Perhaps you think this is a no-brainer, because ice cream conveniently comes in chocolate form. Perhaps you have forgotten that ice cream remains on one’s face, long after one has requested that it be removed?

And apparently ice cream drips?

And this chocolate is cold? Which is unexpected when we’re talking about chocolate. And why aren’t you holding it, as any idiot can see that your manual dexterity far exceeds that of a toddler?

Why are you making him do this? It is disgusting. Are you not aware that he has teeth and can scream?

Eventually, through our laughter, we convinced him that ice cream on a cone would not grab his ankles when he walked by the bed, or secret away his security blanket while he was distracted by ice tongs. So Hank warmed to the idea of holding it himself.

He took about two bites and then thrust it at me, “You hold it?” Fair enough. He pointed at my napkin and held his hands out questioningly. So I obliged.

Then he ran back and forth on the sidewalk screeching happily while we finished our cones.

It was a good day.

38 thoughts on “Mighty Life List: Watch Hank eat his first ice cream cone.

  1. Allison

    Good Lord he is a cutie! Honestly, your life with a child makes me think maybe I could do it one day. Thanks for sharing these little peeks! :)

  2. smallstatic

    Yeah, your dress, well, whole outfit, is so fabulous it almost eclipses the wonderment of the moment and your painfully cute child. Almost.

  3. Rebecca

    Haha, you didn’t even need the text for this. His adorable face told it all. And I echo the other commenters – fabulous outfit.

  4. laura

    Please! Tell us where to find that dress- it’s AMAZING! I am so proud that your toddler lunges for napkins. So proud.

  5. mme_m

    awww. We filmed our daughter’s first ice cream (1st birthday cake was an ice cream cake–make that 2 cakes–from Ici). She made the cutest “GAWD it’s COLD!” face.

    and you look AMAZING in that dress. Envy.

  6. elise

    bi-rite! oh god. so good. there is nothing in this world more sacred than honey lavender ice cream.

  7. Lady M

    So adorable!

    I was a bit obsessive with the wiping up too, with the result that my toddler would pick up his food, take a bite, and hold his hands out and demand, “Wipe! Wipe!”

  8. elsie

    this post is a triumph – your gorgeous little one WILL survive you!! just lovely fun – ditto on the dress and the legs please…

  9. Lyz

    Those cones, they can be confusing. Personally, I’m with all the fastiduous toddlers out there and prefer my ice cream in a nice, tidy bowl. My kids probably wouldn’t know what a cone WAS if not for the baby ones at McDonald’s.

  10. Funkidivagirl

    Too cute! I have the opposite kid…from the moment she tasted sugar, she was hooked on anything sweet.

    As for the cone, I rarely let her have one (too messy) and instead put ice cream in a cup.

    By the way, I love your dress!

  11. Auntie

    Finally! Overdue in my opinion. Now, take him camping. Last weekend in July. Call me for details. Grandpa will be there and it will be his 84th birthday!

  12. W

    what a happy looking guy :)

    lordie I am so glad I am not the only mom out there who obsessively wipes at her child’s face. My 8 month old’s snotty daycare cold nose drives me crazy. In contrast, my husband is the parent who doesn’t give a crap if his kid’s face is smeared with goo. God help me when we go camping this summer, let alone when he first gets ice cream!

  13. Maggie

    I have always had an extreme food mess aversion. I pile up my plates immediately after finishing a meal at a restaurant and demand that they be taken right away. After having my daughter, I also became the mommy chasing her child around with baby wipes.

    So what did I get? Not the wonderfully clean child that Hank apparently is. Instead I got the “I think a better place for this bowl of noodles with marinara sauce would be on my head, don’t you think I look better as a redhead?” child.

    I think it’s some sort of punishment.

  14. samantha

    i LOVE this post! it makes me think about my husband, who is also very “clean” and tells me stories about avoiding sticky or messy things as a child. i wonder if that’s inherited? or learned?

  15. Shannon

    I am a face and hand wiper as well to my almost 3 year old. He won’t touch a banana and always holds his hands out to be wiped off after a meal. Loved this post.

  16. Dayna

    Oh I heart wet wipes! I don’t really know how we survived without them. I was an obsessive hand/face wiper, not so much because my daughter being messy bothered me, I just always figured being that sticky/gooey/grimy can’t feel good. My daughter is now 5 and my compulsive use of wipes on her has translated into her being as appalled as Hank when she gets dirty. She likes to get dirty at least, she just wants to be cleaned up very quickly after. I was also very quick to change her clothes whenever she spilled or drooled alot and soaked her shirt. Result, two drops of water on her shirt and she’s ripping it off. Could be worse I suppose, she could be wiping boogers on everything.

  17. Dawn

    I adore your blog, but I think that you all need to head to Calistoga or your cabin in the woods, and play in some mud. It will be therapeutic for you all.

    Also, a ‘dry bag’ full of damp baby wash cloths is a great alternative to all those wipes going in the landfill.

  18. m

    I like having my ice cream in a cup with a cone on top, like a hat! :D Best of both worlds.

  19. fiona

    Geez. They grow up so fast. Even watching yours get bigger is a little painful. Mine is turning four in June. I haven’t figured out a way to slow it down.

  20. Megan

    Thanks for coming out as a mom who wipes and a formerly childfree woman who didn’t find messy faces cute. I feel more secure in the fact that I am the childless Aunt Who Always Has A Tissue.

    How long did he stay covered in chocolate once it was all over? :-)

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