Sweet CeCe's - our favorite new ice cream shoppe - saved me from weeks upon weeks of misbehaving children due to candy obsession by participating in a "candy drive" for the soldiers. For every pound of candy brought in, you received a punch on your punch card; they're shipping the candy overseas. Wonderful idea!
So, I talked up how we were going to take our candy and send it to the soldiers, and best of all, how we were "trading" candy for ice cream! The kids were super pumped about it (Phew!).
On our way to Sweet CeCe's, we were all having a conversation about the soldiers. Jack piped up, "I don't like soldiers. Soldiers are mean!"
This was a good opportunity to talk about how the soldiers were only mean to the enemy and how they keep us safe, fight for our freedom, etc. Bit heavy for a two-year-old, but he seemed to follow. But, he still kept insisting that soldiers were mean. We arrived, chuckled about Jack, and headed in to partake of some yumminess.
Five punches (yes, over 5 pounds of candy!) later, we were each stuffing our mouths with our own concoction of flavors and toppings when - I kid you not - a big soldier walked in the door. Decked out in army camo gear...black boots, black hat, the whole sh'bang! How perfect!
Now, this place is not a big place, and being that it was a Tuesday night, it wasn't very crowded. There were about five other people in the place. So, after I excitedly told Jack about who had walked in, of course everyone heard when Jack retorted that no, he didn't want to look at the soldier because soldiers are mean! Smiling, I continued to point out all the cool things about the soldier; I could see him grinning as he made his ice cream treat. Jack remained unimpressed.
As the soldier approaches the register, near where we are sitting, I suggested that Jack introduce himself to the soldier so he could talk to him and see that he's very nice. Jack thought that was a terrible idea. So I held out my hand and introduced myself to "soldier Tyrone." Jack just eyed him up and down, eyebrows furled.
We chatted briefly and then Tyrone went to pay for his ice cream. But before he left the shop, he turned around and approached us. He reached one arm to the other, peeled off his army patch and held it out to Jack. "Here," he said, "I want you to have this."
My heart melted.
And then my son rejected the sweet offering. (How lovely...)
Jason: "Jack, this is so awesome; he wants you to have his army patch."
Jack: "No." (Seriously, child of mine...)
I graciously accepted the patch, and the soldier and I exchanged a chuckle before he left.
I hope this soldier has children -and my hunch is that he does - because then he'll understand that Jack was likely to warm up to the idea of soldiers, and specifically the very cool patch he gave Jack. And that's exactly what happened.
In fact, while we continued to talk about the soldier and how cool his present was, Jack began to ask to wear it and inquire about soldiers. By the time we had eaten our ice cream and were leaving, Jack was clutching his patch protectively and insisting that he get to wear it on his pajamas.
And the next day, we pinned it on his shirt to he could wear it to school and tell everyone his story about meeting Soldier Tyrone! Very cool story! I love it!