A few weeks ago, around 5:00 p.m., I was upstairs giving Caroline her bath. Jacob and Elizabeth were downstairs in the den. Suddenly, I heard blood-curdling screams from downstairs. My heart skipped several beats. My stomach lurched. I picked up a soapy Caroline from the tub, wrapped her in her hooded towel, and raced downstairs. Would I see blood? Broken bones?
The screaming continued as I ran down the stairs, but amidst the screams, I could have sworn that I thought I heard "The Entertainer." Suddenly, it all clicked. My children were screaming their fool heads off because they thought they were going to miss the Ice Cream Lady. But there was no time for reflection -- she was OUTSIDE OUR DOOR AT THAT MOMENT. I yelled for Jacob to run outside and tell her that we are coming. I scrambled to find my wallet in my huge purse. I told Elizabeth (who was really in a bad state at this point) to pull herself together, and we all hurried outside to join him-- hyperventilating, puffy-eyed three year old, soapy wet baby, and crazy mom.
We chose our treats, said goodbye to the ice cream lady, and turned around to walk back inside when I was suddenly overwhelmed by a "what just happened?" moment. Surely I did not just reward my children for screaming like banshees over something as trivial as the ice cream truck by actually BUYING THEM ICE CREAM???? Why, yes I did. But you can always count on me to get swept up in a wave of hysteria. If everyone is yelling "the sky is falling!!!!" my first reaction will never be "Come on. Let's think about this for a moment. Surely the sky is not falling." It will be: "Oh #$%#!@#!!!! The sky is falling!!!" Or, take for example certain bosses that I have had/have in my life, who will run into my office with a crazed look, pacing back and forth and talking to themselves, and say something like: "We're meeting with the client tomorrow. We need to know this pronto!!!! We need to know this yesterday!!!" Well, the more frenzied the delivery, the more you can count on me to enter panic/frenzy mode right along with the boss, even though I should know by now that whatever it is often isn't THAT urgent. So given these tendencies, I am not surprised that I bought the ice cream. We DID do a little role playing game when we got back inside, in which we pretended that I was upstairs giving Caroline a bath when the ice cream lady came by, and we all practiced what we would do next time besides screaming at the top of our lungs. I will let you know how it goes.