"Can we have one, Mommy?"
"Yeah, can we?"
I paused. "Well, I was planning to go for ice cream after this."
"Mmm, ice cream," said one daughter, licking her lips.
The other dove for the jar. "I don't want ice cream. I want a lolly."
A half hour later my appointment was over and so was the sweet. "Let's go for ice cream," I said.
One child bounded for the door while the other sulked and shuffled her feet.
"Mommy, I didn't have a sweet after lunch. Can I still have an ice cream?" the sulker asked, hopeful. In our family a sweet after lunch is as natural as breathing. I could follow the sulker's logic to it's conclusion: the lolly was her after-lunch sweet therefore she still qualified for an ice cream.
Bullets of rage flew from the bounders eyes. "Yes, you did have a sweet! I saw you. It was a chocolate ball."
"No I didn't!"
"Yes, you did," screeched the bounder. "Mommy, she's lying!"
I hadn't been home at lunch but was tempted to believe the bounder. "I suppose I could ask Lateeka if you had dessert."
"I didn't and neither of you believe me."
Ouch. She'd played the trust card.
"I want to believe you, sweetie, but I also know how much you want an ice cream. Let's go," I said and walked to the car.
We were pulling into the Dairy Queen drive-thru when the bounder asked, "So, are you going to call Lateeka, Mommy?" The sulker was quiet, but listening.
"I'm not sure," I said meeting the sulker's gaze in my rear-view mirror.
Suddenly a voice squawked, "Welcome to Dairy Queen. What can I get for you today?"
I turned around and looked the sulker in the eye. "Vanilla cone or a dip."
"Dip," echoed the bounder.
"Two small vanilla dips and a small vanilla cone, please."
We were half way home when I noticed the sulker was not eating her ice cream. Only a small bite was taken off the top. The rest was sweating profusely. I've never liked dips.
"Don't you like it?" I asked.
"No," she said.
At home she threw the cone in the trash.
"Are you still going to call Lateeka, Mommy?"
"I don't think I should have to. Come. Let's go talk, just you and me."
Once alone in my room the truth trickled out along with a bucket of tears: "I think... I think I may have forgotten that I did have a sweet after lunch, Mommy."
"You think?" I said, hugging her close.
"Did you really not like the ice cream?"
"I liked it, but I didn't want to get in trouble."
"I'm sorry, Mommy."