Okay, so it's not really ice cream, it's a popsicle. But the point is that it's cold. And that makes me a horrible mother. I don't know if it's worse than letting your child go sock-less, but I do know feeding your child ice cream when it's cold out is a very very bad thing.
Our first experience with the fear of eating cold stuff came even before Elise was born. One night way back when we first came to Turkey we had James' language helper Ozgur over for dinner. Ozgur was 19 years old and from a village in the north. We were the first foreigners he'd ever met. We didn't know Turkish and he didn't know English but with a lot of signing back and forth and dictionary usage we communicated okay. We ate dinner, and I made cultural mistake number one: no bread. We played Go Fish and translated the name of the game something more like a command toward a fish,"Go fish, go!" which makes no sense whatsoever. And afterward we fed him ice cream.
Ozgur looked a little worried when I handed him the big bowl of vanilla ice cream. But after a little prodding he ate it anyway. I went back to the kitchen to do some dishes and Ozgur chatted with James. If we take out the hand signs back and forth and the frequent dictionary usage, the conversation went something like this:
Ozgur: You know, Turks don't eat ice cream in the winter. Probably hinting that he didn't want to eat it which of course went right over poor James' culture shocked head.
James: Really? Why not?
Ozgur: We think it will make us sick. Again politely letting James know that he didn't want to eat it without just coming out and saying it.
James: Oh, don't worry. We eat it all the time. It wont make you sick.
Ozgur: Slowly finishing off his bowl with a sad and concerned look on his face. Well everyone I know gets sick. I usually stay away from this type of thing.
James: Looks like you finished yours off. Can I get you some more?
Ozgur: No thanks.
Later James and I laughed about the fact that Turks think ice cream or other cold things will make them sick. I mean we eat it all the time! Winter or summer, we love milk shakes and popsicles and ice in our drinks. Two days later James showed up for his language lesson with Ozgur, who had a horrible cold. And we stopped laughing.
Since that time this recurring theme has come up: eating cold things, especially in the winter (but oftentimes even in the summer) will make you very sick. Who knows the ills that will befall you but it's not good. It's not good at all.
Our friend Murat had ice cream with our friend Henry. Afterward Henry threw his back out. According to Murat it was the ice cream that did it, and that wasn't even the winter!
My friend Demet once came and had tea with me. She brought her sister Esra and nephew Eren with her. Before Eren went down for a nap Esra pulled a box of milk out of her bag to fill a bottle for him (yes, I said there was a box of milk in her bag... more about milk boxes later.) I told her she didn't need to open that box because I already had some in the refrigerator. Surprised and shocked, she said, "But I can't give my son your milk. It's cold! He may get sick."
I tell you these stories to illustrate my point. I'm a bad mother. A very very bad mother. I let Elise eat cold things, even freezing cold things. I let her eat them winter or summer, as well as spring and fall! I put her her health and well being at risk on a daily basis.
So, what could become of her? Well, I can't get a really straight answer from anybody I've asked so far. All I know is that her future looks very grim. Here are some examples of what happens to people after they eat ice cream, especially if they eat it in winter.
2. Heart attack
3. Colds, runny nose, soar throat
4. Throwing their back out (as we saw happen to Henry)
5. And the most common thing is they just plain get sick.
Post Script: Turks eat ice cream too! Why? Because ice cream tastes good that's why! They just stay away from it in winter and would definitely not feed it to their kids when the weather is cold outside. I guess they know there's a risk of sickness (in summer too) but are willing to take that risk from time to time.