Monday, October 4, 2010

The First Kid of Sweet Peaks: Aria

If Aria was an ice cream flavor she would be milk chocolate with bits of pink cotton candy and purple sprinkles.

She is 5.96 years old and she loves chocolate. Occasionally, she will pick a sorbet but she always adds a pile of mini M&M’s as a topping. As she is the first kid of Sweet Peaks, everyone tends to ask her to name her favorite flavor. In pure Aria 5-going-on-13 attitude she throws her eyes to the sky and her hands to her hips to say, “chocolate”. As if there is any other flavor in the world she would like. I have heard her tell our other shorty customers that she just loves Birthday Cake but only when those same shortys are devouring their Birthday Cake cones with glee. She likes to be part of the pack – sometimes. Most of the time it is chocolate pure creamy and messy on your face chocolate. There is no room for vanilla in this kid’s waffle cone! You would think that she would beg to go to Sweet Peaks to hang out with the kids, eat ice cream cone after cone and be resident queen of the ice cream shop. The truth is that she associates Sweet Peaks with work. I guess as an only child used to undivided attention from her parents and grandparents she finds the ice cream shop to be an obstacle to this attention and the reason we can’t run to the park at a moment’s notice, stay in bed watching movies all day, ride bikes for hours and just go home already. “Do I have to go to Sweet Peaks today?” she whines to us on Saturdays. Yes. She does have to go and yes, she does get to talk with our shorty customers and eat ice cream and visit with the dogs at the Tailwagger’s. She just HAS to. Life is rough. I always laugh at her when she whines about going to Whitefish with us. Aria, do you know that all the kids in Whitefish jump up and down with happiness when they get to go to Sweet Peaks? Do you know that some kids throw tantrums from their car seats when their parents drive down third and they don’t stop in for a cone. Yes. Tantrums! I often tell her that she might be the only kid who groans about having to go to Sweet Peaks. She usually frowns groans as I laugh but I really do understand. I grew up in a restaurant. For 12 years I awoke to the smell of slow roasting duck and warm cheesecake. I went to bed to the sound of high heels gliding across the dance floor, the pop of wine corks and the chiming of clean dishes sliding out of the dish machine. It was wonderful but I also wanted my mom to go to the park on Friday at four o’clock instead of answering phones and writing seating charts. I dreamed of the day when my parents could eat dinner with me instead of ushering other people to their dining tables. I even fantasized about TV dinners! Forget about the steamed clams, fresh baked bread, steaks and fresh red trout that I dined on at the tender age of 3. I wanted a meal where every article was contained in a little pocket on my tray. Mac n’ cheese and chicken nuggets and chocolate pudding! Oh, my! I imagined these mysterious items would comprise the most divine meal of my life. Let’s just say my first week of school lunches during first grade taught me otherwise. Mac ‘n cheese? What was that bright orange color stuck to my tray? Chicken nuggets? They tasted like deep fried croutons. Aria will have her moment too. She tries to get her grandparents to take her to Dairy Queen for ice cream when we are not around. This summer she threw a tantrum at a local market where we were selling ice cream all because she wanted another vendor’s ice cream and I wouldn’t give her money. My mom laughed at my pleas for frozen dinners while in the freezer section of the grocery. Exasperated she would say, “We own a restaurant!” I too laugh at Aria when she asks me why we don’t go to Dairy Queen or buy ice cream at the store. “We own an ice cream shop!”

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