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There she stands. She parks her ice cream cart in front of the door of Leo’s preschool, and every sunny afternoon, I see her and think, “crap.”
This afternoon I watched for a moment, as child after child skipped out the door of the school, turned to their parent or sitter, and began clamoring. Half the kids got ice cream, their faces covered in chocolate or strawberry as they walked off into the sticky afternoon. The other half got a promise: “Daddy will give you a treat after Tae Kwon Do.” “I’ll get ice cream for you at the store.” My kid has the food blogger mom: “Let’s go home, I want to make you a chocolate milk frostie.”
“What’s that?” Leo asked with wonder, climbing into the stroller.
“A cold, delicious chocolate milk treat!”
We live in a neighborhood with so many treats sold on each corner that limiting yourself to one or two a day seems Spartan, and making our own treat at home, with a squeeze of Hershey’s syrup, feels like homesteading. I suspect that doing daily battle against sugary treats will last for at least the next 12 years, until I give up, tell my gawky teen that chocolate gives you pimples, then relinquish all responsibility. In the mean time, we will do our occasional part to contribute to the meager earnings of the ice cream lady, and I will do my darndest to keep treats from becoming a given. In other words, I will not walk away from the sugary treat negotiating table. It’s my best idea about how to do this.
Oh and the frostie? Tasty, refreshing, even a bit nourishing. It’s a keeper—something I’ll make for myself when I’m trying to ignore the Haagen Daz in the freezer.
Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.