Monday, October 5, 2009


Messy Marvin

It's fall, but somehow we were wearing shorts all weekend.  And the ice cream truck came around. In October. Now, I haven't seen the ice cream truck in our neighborhood more than twice before, ever, so seeing it in October was a surprise.  Such a surprise that I thought, "Who is this weird ice cream truck guy?"  And I don't know if this is helicopter-parenting paranoia, or just smart, but instead of handing Laura some money to get treats for herself and Hank and the neighbor girls while I watched from the front door, I went down into the street with them to supervise the transaction. I just thought, "He could grab one of these kids." And get this, when I got down there, to his van, the dude looked like a pedophile, straight from central casting.  It's hard to explain.  Forty-ish, white, slightly pasty, with an obsequious, even juvenile, demeanor.  Am I terrible?  It's just what I thought.  I am a big Gavin de Becker fan, so there it is.

And when he was gone, I said to Laura, "Don't you ever go near that truck.  If you see it again, come and find me.  We don't know who that guy is or if he's nice."  She said, "He was okay."  And I said, "We absolutely do not know that.  He didn't seem that okay to me.  And kids have been snatched off the street by ice cream trucks."  (Okay, I don't know if that last part was true, but I wanted to let her know what I was talking about, and I think it made an impression.)  So there's that familiar parenting feeling of, am I keeping my kids safe, or scaring them and adding a tinge of menace to normal childhood things? And haven't I managed to make a nice Sunday seem shadowed by danger?  The moment passed.

Fall Popsicles


Laura organized the little kids into an elaborage cul-de-sac game called "Minitown."  They drew a town with chalk, and they each had a house.  Here they are at the Movie Theatre.  The movie is that Laura tells them the story of Aladdin.
Laura Having School

Or, she told them half the story, then she got tired and told them to come back tomorrow and pay another dollar to hear the rest.  At Laura's feet is the admission she's collected.  Minitown had its own currency: leaves and acorns.  Everyone was rich as could be.  When you bought something at one of the stores, like a gerbil or a plant, Laura would come and draw it in your house.  It was a lot like an MMO game, without the need for computers or the monthly subscription fee.  Laura said, "Mom, do you know why it's called 'Minitown?'"  I said, "I think I do."  And she said, "It was founded by Charles Mini."

So all in all, a nice summerish-fallish day.  Then last night, all through the night and this morning, it poured rain (more rain? really?) and washed all the chalk away.  Goodbye, Minitown.


Cassie said...

As always, your children are adorable. And my goodness is Laura creative. Charles Mini... are you kidding me?! Ha!

Good move on the ice cream guy. I'd be a little wary of any ice cream truck that's tooling around after labor day.

Veronica said...

Laura is a genius. I actually for real laughed out loud at the "Charles Mini" comment.

The "ice cream truck" in our neighborhood is actually just a guy with a cart that he pushes around while walking down the street. Actually, lots of guys--they're all over the place. Mostly near the parks, the vultures. But much less snatching-danger--I hadn't thought of that possibility. Scary! Good on you for being vigilant. (My word verification is "rescr," which is almost rescue, which I think means that you did a good rescue job by accompanying the kids to the truck.)

Ginny Marie said...

I still haven't braved buying ice cream from the ice cream truck, and I think I will take the same approach! Lily just discovered this summer (and taught her younger sister) that it's not the "music truck" after all. (Mommy is a big, fat, liar!)

Sara said...

I was totally (ok, figuratively) lying on the pavement, chin in hands, just like Hank "listening" to this post. Laura has got to be like a hero to all those little kids because she is *awesome!* I've got to tell my kids about Mini Town. They love chalk.

Good call on the ice cream creep, er, man.

Awesome photos, too btw.

Jenni said...

what about Fat Frogs? do you remember those? that's what I always got from the ice cream man.

love the pics and the new look. snazzy.

Keely said...

Aw, goodbye, Minitown! Now when she's older you can point out this blog post and say, "see how creative you were? Remember that?"

And she can roll her eyes at you and flounce away.

Good call on the ice cream truck driver. Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, I think.

Elle said...

I love this game your daughter has arranged!

I tend to trust the kids' judgment, or at least discuss with them why they thought it was ok/not ok vs. why I thought it was ok/not ok. Dunno. I think it's what Gavin would want from us.

Casey said...

The kids are so cute munching on their ice cream! Why is it that every ice cream man falls into the perv category? It's like a job requirement or something. BTW, I've NEVER seen an ice cream truck in my neighborhood. Sucks for us.

Elizabeth said...

I think Laura and Hank are two of the cutest children that I've seen in a long time. And I mean that in a non-ice-cream-sleazy-man sort of way.

The ice cream man in DC used to come calling in our neighborhood (with the oh-so-annoying "Do your Ears hang low" blaring) around 9:30 or 10 at night nearly every night of the summer. I think I saw him out there after midnight one night.

I'm sure that he was just selling Spider Man ice cream. Absolutely sure. Right?

The Dental Maven said...

I'm always paranoid that they have tampered with the ice cream. I know. I'm a freaknik.

delaine said...

What a sweet mom you are to buy ice creams all the way around. I think you are smart to keep an eye out for potential danger or trouble for the kids. As always the pictures are really nice and Hank looks like such a big guy, doesn't he? Spiderman ice cream,yum !

Amy said...

Laura is so amazing. Will she play Minitown with me when I come at Christmas?

missynall said...

We have the SAME ice cream guy!!! My kids call him "the scary ice cream man." He is creepy. I agree! We also have "towns" all over our cul-de-sac at any given time. Can't wait to tell my daughter the story-telling idea... brilliant!!!

Becky said...

Do you really, Missy? In the minivan? Weird.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

No, no, you are not being weird or weird or weird. Go with your gut. If he seemed pedophiliacical, then watch him like a hawk. Seriously!

Fantastic Forrest said...

Better safe than sorry. I loved your pics and the story. Wonderful.