Tubular meat and frozen dairy products

Points to you if you can decode the above riddle. Thus far, Rowan cannot, and so we use such terms to describe his two current favourite foods when we do not want him to hear us talking about them and immediately explode in a tizzy of excitement and demandingness. Come on, think: tubular meat ... tu-bu-lar meat ... meat in a tube ... you’re getting warmer, warmer, hot, hot, hotter ... yes! Hot dogs! As for frozen dairy products, that’s kind of a no-brainer, well, now, isn’t it? And Rowan’s favourite flavour is whatever happens to be on top of your cone at the moment.

Which is why Canada Day celebrations at Marina Park yesterday were such a hit, despite the rain, despite the fact that that we arrived and left too early to catch any of the day’s planned activities. We spent a slow morning at home, waiting for Isaac to wake up from his first nap of the day, paste Rowan circling the backyard in various states of dress and undress, and talking to us incessantly about hot dogs and ice cream. When we finally got there, it was all, “Can I have ice cream now? Raspberry ice cream? Now? Now?” And when we said, “You have to eat a hot dog first,” he said this word I hadn’t realized he knew: “Okay,” he said, and Rachel muttered, “Heaven after Heaven.”

So we all got our hot dogs (well, everyone except Isaac, who tore apart a bun with great zeal), and Rowan ate his as quickly as he could after I broke it into little pieces to cool down (he won’t eat the bun), and then ate the rest of my Bratwurst and Rachel’s spicy Italian sausage, and as soon as there wasn’t a speck of tubular meat left in sight, he said, “Can we get ice cream now?”

And so we traipsed across the field to the ice cream truck and I bought three cones, and Rowan, thrilled, inhaled about half of his in four seconds and then wanted to taste mine, and then Rachel’s, and then I felt like such a real mom because I legitimately had to “lick his cone around” like my mom used to do to avoid the ice cream running over his hand and down his arm. By the time we returned to the base camp we had set up under the not-yet-open face-painting tent, all three cones were worse for wear.

And then Rachel, who was sitting on the grass, took out a baby spoon and said, “Here, Isaac — try this,” and spooned some frozen dairy product into the angelic mouth of our one-year-old. I turned away for a moment, and when I looked back, the children had covered her like rabid locusts: Isaac had climbed up on her thigh and hoisted himself to standing, one arm around her shoulder, trying to divebomb her cone and shouting, “Ta TA! Ta TA! Ta TA!” between bites. Rowan was taking advantage of the opportunity to divebomb her cone from the other side, saying, “This Mom, let’s share!”

Our friend Judy — who had wisely held out for the caramel kettle corn and freshly fried mini donuts sprinkled with cinnamon — had the presence of mind to take a photograph before I rescued Rachel by offering Rowan a lick of my cone.

And then we went home and had intoxicating liquids.