Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Let them eat (ice cream) cake.

It was good to read all your comments and realize I keep good company with lots of other Non-Listeners. The first thing a Non-Listener needs to do is listen. And I was determined to do just that.

My daughter celebrated her birthday last weekend with, among other things, an ice cream cake. Not just any ice cream cake but a rainbow sherbet cake, decorated with orange roses and frosted in her favorite colors of aqua blue with red trim.

Are you done making gagging noises?  Good. Now you can finish reading this post.

Throughout the weekend my husband made little comments about our daughter's cake.

The comments focused on, for example, his deep and abiding fondness for the genre of ice cream cakes. Or how the best flavor for ice cream cake is chocolate chip mint. He made these comments and expected to be ignored. Not just because his wife is a Non-Listener but because ice cream cake has a sordid history in our household.

An ice cream cake from Baskin & Robbins was the trigger to our very first fight. You know the kind, where one innocuous act leads to seven hours of tearful conversation, handwringing and questioning whether or not this relationship is really going to work out. It was our first Valentine's Day and my husband (then boyfriend) showed up carrying a big box.

"Happy Valentine's Day," he said handing me the box.

"Oh, it's...."

"Ice cream cake!" I still remember the tone of his voice. He was so very excited!


I opened the box and discovered that, yes, it was true. It contained an enormous sheet of ice cream cake.

"So what flavor is it?" I asked as I inspected the box looking for some deeper meaning.

"Chocolate chip mint." His eyes held the manic glaze that I now recognize as his Pavlovian response to all forms and shapes of ice cream.

"Did you have it made specially?"

"No, no. I just stopped by after work and picked it up."

"Is there a card?"

"Oh yeah, I forgot to get a card. But the cake has hearts on it."

There you have it. My first Valentine's Day gift from my husband was an enormous ice cream cake in his favorite flavor with no card. The conversation went downhill from there. I think the low point was when he realized there would be NO ice cream cake served that evening.

Since that time he's steered clear of ice cream cakes as gifts. But actions speak louder than words. And what about words? They speak too. Anyone who was paying attention, doing some listening, would agree my husband wants, no needs, an ice cream cake of his very own.

After two kids and thirteen years of marriage, it seemed like the perfect time to come full circle and present him with his very own ice cream cake on Valentine's Day. Although, I did tweak the gift slightly. Instead of my favorite flavor I made sure to get his. I think this is a step in the right direction for an avowed Non-Listener.


Rachel Schieffelbein said...

That was very nice of you!
My first Valentine's gift from my husband was a Harry Potter doll. Because he'd seen a picture of me at nine and I looked like Harry Potter. That gift did not go over well, either. :-P

Lisa Zhang Wharton said...

My son likes to have ice-cream cake for birthday, too. Yesterday, my hubby made me beautiful vegetable arrangement

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Hmmm. It sounds to me like there might have been a breakdown in communication which is important with relationships. But I'm glad to see that it has turned out well over the years.

Pame Brennan said...

AWW! That is just the sweetest thing! He is a lucky man who's wife hears the 'important' things.

Connie J Jasperson said...

Aw! That is so sweet! and so honest. I enjoy that honesty which is why this blog is one of my favorites!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'm personally not a big fan of ice cream cakes but it's sweet that you got him one, and in his favorite flavor too!

Kristen Wixted said...

I'm with him--I love ice cream cake. But I would have been annoyed that first year, too.
One year on my birthday my husband got me his favorite take-out dinner and a book he wanted to read.
Since then it's been better, but I can always remind him (just for a little friendly torture...)

Christine Murray said...

That's such a thoughtful and individual present. Truly romantic.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That was really nice of you! Believe me, I know my wife's favorite flavor of every kind of food.

Johanna Garth said...

Rachel, I can only imagine the "discussion" that followed that gift.

Lisa, that's so sweet!

Thanks Michael!

Pame...sometimes, especially if you define ice cream as important ;)

Thank you Connie!!

I'm with you on that one Nicole.

Kristen, no relationship is complete without a little friendly torture.

Thanks Christine!

Alex, see you know the important things!

T. L. Cooper said...

Those pesky expectations ruin more holidays than anything else... :-)And that's what your first fight was really all about. You expected one thing and he delivered another.
This time you listened and by listening you're better equipped to meet his expectations. Good for you!
There are no expectations in my house regarding Valentine's Day as I expressed in my blog both last year and this year...

The Bookworm said...

oh gosh, lo...I'm a non-listener too. My hubby often tells me I never listen when he!
I like to call it 'selective hearing'.
awww...thats nice that you got him his own icecream cake :P
I think his getting you one in his fav flavor was a cry for help.

George W said...

What a marvelous incident, and I don't think a COincidence, your giving him the same flavor ice-cream cake he bought you, lo those 13 years earlier. Touching if your gift to him had hearts on it. All men know that an image graven on the surface of a cake is the perfect substitution for a card. The wise man once said (and if he didn't he should have) "A raised red heart is worth a thousand words." I embrace your hubby's sentiment!

Sabrina A. Fish said...

I love that you got him an icecream cake in his flavor. So sweet!

Maia Dobson said...

I love ice cream cake because it's different. I have a very sensitive teeth that's why I don't enjoy eating ice cream but with sandwich, it's less painful. But I think it's really best to ask for recommendations from the dentists in Bartlett for a toothpaste that could cure my sensitive teeth.