Today was all the way around beautiful. Monkey and I both woke up in good spirits, excited to go to his friend Sureya's birthday party. Ok, so maybe he wasn't excited for that, given that he had no idea we were going, but he was in good spirits anyway.
We got a slowish start on account of it being Sunday and because my days off are so rare this month, I wanted to sort of slow down and take it in rather than rush us off somewhere. By the time we got to the party down in San Jose, the sun was almost all the way out, the food was in full swing, and the shoots-from-the-ground water fixture at the park was turned on and soaking kids left and right.
The kids played a while at the playground and in the sandbox before being rounded up for cake and presents. At the age of these kids (and probably for the next 6 years or so) it's difficult to watch somebody open presents without wanting to play with them, but I was impressed with how polite all the kids in attendance were. Sureya was able to open up everything in peace and without anybody or anything getting trampled.
After a few hours in the sun and with all the running around, Monkey was ready for a nap. We took leave of our fellow partiers and were about to head out when I heard the magical childhood sound of "La Cucaracha" busting out over a tinny, scratchy loud speaker. Which, by the way, I have to wonder about the wisdom of selling food out of a vehicle whose speaker is blasting a song about a cockroach...
Today's New Activity: Adult Re-Living of/Monkey Introduction to the Magic of the Ice Cream Truck
My boy sat patiently (easy since he had no idea what this truck was capable of) while I perused the options. By the time I as a child was old enough to remember and run after ice cream trucks, I wasn't really interested in ice cream or popsicles. My friends and I wanted things like Big League Chew or bubble gum cigarettes (man times have changed...what WAS up with all the tobacco-related kiddie treats back then?!), or any kind of liquid candy. Ugh. The thought of that now turns my stomach, but somehow kids' stomachs are built not only to withstand things like liquid candy, they seem to need it once in a while as inspiration to live.
Anyway, Monkey's too young for any of that. We went for a Pink Panther Pop...still around--I couldn't believe it. He made it through about one ear's worth before slowing down so much the entire thing was melty and liable to plop into his lap at any moment. I wanted at the red eyeball for myself, but when I bit into it in practically disintegrated in my mouth. All of a sudden I couldn't remember if the eyeballs were made of candy or gum. Then I realized it tasted like gum but was just so thoroughly changed by having been frozen it was unrecognizable as such. So gross. I seriously don't know how we ever survived/enjoyed eating this kind of thing.
Anyway, we were about to leave for the second time when a second, louder, more professional looking ice cream truck started heading down the street toward the park. Since the first ice cream truck's music was still going, I thought truck #2 would surely back off and count this park as spoken for, for the time being anyway. But no. The truck pulled right into the parking lot, parked a little ways away from the first truck, and then turned its music UP, practically drowning out the music of truck #1.
It was the funniest thing. I started to imagine that ice cream trucks have territory like surfers, and that truck #1 had interloped onto truck #2's established route. Looking at the arrogant, "dare you to mess with me" posture of truck #2's driver as he sat blaring his music and staring at truck #1, it not only seemed to be the case, but I thought if I were truck #1, I wouldn't want to stick around and find out the consequences of this infraction.
And he didn't. Truck #1 finished with his customer and was on his way, though there were dozens more kids in the park who might have come around eventually. It's funny to think about the complex subcultures of different professions and trades. I'm sure there are dozens of unwritten rules for ice cream truck etiquette that we, as the innocent, popsicle-lickin' public will never be aware of.
Experiencing the ice cream truck today for the first time since childhood reminded me that I hadn't noticed one really since I was a child myself and actually interested in what it had to offer. It's funny how becoming a parent makes you all over again aware of the things you enjoyed as a child and eager to share them with your own offspring. It'll probably be some time before Monkey is old enough to truly appreciate this rolling wonder (I mean really, how amazing is it that there are still people out there who LIVING is made by driving a truck around and peddling sweets to kids. I love that, and I hope they are around for a long time), but it was fun introducing him to it today.
And just a quick, second first for the day...my parents took the baby and I out for dinner, and for the first time I got to hear my son sing "Happy Birthday" to me, even getting the word "Mama" in the appropriate place. I think it was one of the best sounds I've ever heard :)