My kids are great kids. They are smart (too smart) and loving and so kind to each other and to their parents. They are both quite verbal (too verbal) and they talk all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. I mean, it feels like I haven’t written much lately and it is largely because Ella has been responding to my question about how she is doing for several weeks. I am here now because they think I’m showering. I’ve had to reduce myself to tradeoffs of basic, life-critical elements. But I digress (and if I focus, perhaps I can write AND shower). (Also the dog is probably destroying something upstairs. It is like when Ella the whirlwind was one and a half years old and I had to set up a sacrificial area of the house if I ever wanted to do something by myself. Now I set out things that belong to other members of my family for Maisie to chew so that I can sneak down alone into the basement.)
The kids. Great. They’re great. We’re all great. Everything is good.
Except the lying.
Why is there so much lying?
I never beat them; I never send them to bed without dinner; they don’t get crazy punishments like you might see on a Buzzfeed list. So why do I get ridiculous stories in response to so many of my direct questions? I am savvy, though. Whenever I hear the following phrases, I know that I am getting something “fictional:”
No. I am pretty sure that you are completely unaware of what you do accidentally. Like, ‘D2 and I were playing and then we accidentally got out the shaving cream and it accidentally is in symmetrical piles on the stairs. And then Maisie ate it–but we told her not to!’ Or, ‘Mom, I am sorry, but I accidentally borrowed your necklace and then used it as a jump rope but it wasn’t big enough, so it broke and the beads are now in the garden.’If you can tell me about it, it was on purpose.
“I just thought that I…”
No. You didn’t. You knew that you could not. And you’re checking to see if I also remember that you could not. To see if you are in trouble.And I do. And you are.
“Just one more…”
No. I know exactly how this works, since I do it, too. Just one more cookie. One more show. One more book before you go quietly to bed. Only you’re a kid, so, no. Just wait one more minute while I finish this and then I will come up there and stop you.
No. You never did nothing. Or want nothing. Or think nothing. “Nothing” did not happen at school. You didn’t do “nothing” to your crying sister. “Nothing” is not a choice of which vegetable you want for dinner.In your life, there isn’t nothing. There is always something. So just tell me what it is, for better or worse, or I will go completely insane.
No, not from Halloween (though if there is a way to become a hero by eating fun-size Snickers bars and Kit Kats, that might be a contributing factor). I am for real: my mad parenting skills are not just impressive–they are superhuman. For example:
I can shift time. We’re one week into end-of-daylight-savings-time. Or, as many parents-of-toddlers know it, “[redacted] kids wake up crazy early day.” But I now have seven years’ experience getting children–and now a baby animal–who have no concept of time to adjust their entire lives by an hour, simply by yelling and locking people in their sleeping areas. In just one month’s time, I can get my children entirely recovered from Daylight Savings, waking again at a reasonable hour. Probably. By Christmas, for sure.
I can do things while asleep. While we’re waiting for the full effect of #1 power, I use this: my ability to parent and run a household half asleep. I can ask people to get dressed, authorize extra early morning cartoon screen time, and like photos on Instagram all while mostly still asleep. For example, D2 was a 5:30am riser for a long time. I don’t remember many details, because I think I have PTSD-repressed them, but I do remember the lingering emotion between MI and I about “who’s turn?” and “who’s idea to have another kid…” that added drama to that year. I also remember one morning when she was about 18 months old and loved fruit snacks. She found a new box in the pantry, right across from where I was laying on the couch. She loved them, but she couldn’t open them. She brought them to me, her sleeping guardian, and I gave them to her as a pre-breakfast snack. 7 times, apparently. I woke up in a pile of wrappers. See–I can even feed them while asleep.
I can both clean all the time and have the house be a total disaster. I straighten the house for hours a day. Days a day, even. The kids make so much mess that the only way I’ve found to keep the house neat is to minimize the amount of time we are awake there. Before we had kids, it took me a while to put away the clean dishes because, well, I didn’t feel like doing it. Now putting away dishes is the best because it is easy, I could do it peacefully in the kitchen while listening to a podcast on my headphones, and it is one of those chores that immediately shows results. But, no, it still takes forever in our house to put away the dishes because that is supposed to be a kids’ chore. So even though I’d happily just do it, my chore is to make them do it; SO. MUCH. HARDER. I mean, asking them to pause making messes in the living room so they can come bicker while slowly putting spoons in the fork slot–that is TOUGH. Sometimes it takes two days. Sigh.
Poop does not phase me. I love to tell a good poop story. Kids provide so very many. Even puppies have nothing on toddlers, I’ve found so far. Single friends listen, horrified, and tell me “I just can’t do that.” But when you’re alone for bedtime and your kid poops in the tub, well, you can’t just leave it there. And there is no service call for that. Even if you wanted to just move, you have to clean to show the house. So you deal with it. You wash your hands and get it over with. Now, after 7 years, I am immune to shit and can keep my cool when others lose theirs. For example, a few years ago at a race, one of my friends had a very unfortunate port-a-potty visit. She responded by screaming and texting people about the woeful state of humanity. I was the one who dealt with it–someone else’s poop, someone else’s shorts, public restroom, no big deal. Superhero.
I can make two kinds of dinner in 12 minutes. I am like a short order cook. I really like to cook; I like to play with recipes and cook with vegetables and make things that are healthy and creative. But when we get home from work and school, everyone is starving and I have 15 minutes to get an adult meal and a kid meal on the table. I know that they say not to do that–it should be one meal for the whole family. But I won’t eat quesadillas every day and I cannot figure out how to get the girls to eat food with vegetables or anything red or anything with sauce or anything where multiple ingredients are mixed together. So there are two versions. If you think about it, I cook 14 dinners a week. Unless we order pizza. And go out to eat on Saturday. And eat cereal on Tuesday…
Right now, because it is afternoon, but they don’t really nap anymore.
Later this afternoon, because they won’t have had dinner yet.
In the late evening because they ARE NOT TIRED.
Tomorrow, because it will be a school day.
And, just generally, because they are children.
I haven’t decided if all of the sobbing is because they are deranged, emotional messes who cannot yet control themselves, or because they are still in touch with the true meaning of life and capable of feeling deeply and so expressing without shame.
Either way, they are exhausting, but often hilarious at the same time.
Reasons, of late, my kids have completely lost it:
She remembered–after waking up in the dead of the night–that the piece of cake she was given at her classmate’s birthday party last week fell over on its side and she couldn’t see the frosting.
I unzipped her dress when it was stuck over her head. (She could have done that herself.)
I did not come immediately to help when it turned out she could NOT do it by herself.
I said that we would never get a pet rabbit.
I explained *why* we would never get a pet rabbit–they like to hop freely in the green grass with their families–and she cried that other people could be so cruel as to keep pet rabbits.
I told her that her shoes were on the wrong feet.
I threw away her broken Easter basket in July.
Her sister sprayed her with the hose when they were outside, naked, playing with the hose.
I said she could not have pasta for breakfast.
I played the Kidz Bop version of “Shake It Off,” instead of the real version by Taylor Swift.
I took the HOV lane, when she wanted to follow the red car in the slow lane.
Today is Tuesday. She hates Tuesday.
Her sister forgot to refer to her by her pretend name of “Disney Toy Collector.”
I would not drink the fairy pond water in the pink plastic teacup that was “just for me.”
D2: The cupcakes should be purple.
Ella: The cupcakes should be pink.
D2: The cupcakes HAVE TO BE PURPLE.
Ella: Purple gives me a headache!
D2: No it doesn’t–and grandma already told me they could be purple.
Ella: If they are purple, I will not eat them. Not. at. all.
D2: Fine, I will eat them all myself because purple is my favorite.
Ella: Mooooooom, its not fair! She said she was going to eat ALLL the cupcakes.
She begged to go to gymnastics camp, so I signed her up for gymnastics camp, and then made her go to gymnastics camp.
Her mermaid doll can not stand up by itself on the tip of its tail.
Her book does not stand upright in the carseat cupholder.
I threw away the pink pig she made yesterday out of a paper dinner plate. (Apparently it was a special pig that we were supposed to keep forever.)
She asked me if we could move to Florida, and I said, “Not today.”
I decided to wear slacks to work instead of a dress.
It was nearly time to leave. Five more minutes, and I was trying to sneak in a few more dishes, clear a few breakfast plates, and speed blow dry my hair for work. Five minutes.
I asked D2 to put on her shoes. I asked her to pick up the toys on the living room floor. I asked her to finish her breakfast. I asked her to brush her hair.
She could not. She was unavailable because the only thing she could do was find Christmas ornament Princess Anna, so that it could accompany small, plastic Queen Elsa, who needed someone similarly sized with whom to play.
I knew where Anna was. I’d seen her in a toy bin earlier that week. We needed to GO. I spent two of the five minutes explaining why we did not have time because WE ONLY HAD FIVE MINUTES, then finally caved when I realized she cared more about finding Anna than I did about my plans at work. I found Anna. Just because toddlers are small and have different values doesn’t mean they are ridiculous, right?
Wrong. They are ridiculous.
I started to go upstairs for the speed hair styling–nope. Called back down to remove a tag that was stuck to Princess Anna, obviously making her impossible to play with. Maybe even impossible to touch, given the freak-out crying that was going on. [Why are we playing with a Christmas ornament in April? Why did it still have the tag on it? Why does Disney even make clay Christmas ornaments in characters that are only going to appeal to small children? What diabolical person first invented glitter?! I do not know.]But nothing could go on until there was no tag.
As I removed the tag, I took the chance to remind D2 about how this was *not* a plastic Anna.
This was no magiclip. This was BREAKABLE ANNA, and she COULD NOT drop it because it would break. She had to be sooooooo careful. (I knew this was true. Because Anna used to be one of a set; may Christmas ornament Elsa rest in peace.]
As I handed Anna over, tag-free, I asked
“Can you please be so careful? And make sure not to drop her?”
” I will be sooooooooo sooooooo careful. I will not–” [drops Anna.] “Oh! It is ok, she is okay! She did not break.”
“Ok. She did not break, but you dropped her right on the rug. If you drop her on the hard floor, she will break.”
Whatever. We both knew. I knew it was Anna’s last day. Anna knew it was her last day. Nothing could stop fate.
What D2 knew, though, was something else entirely: her mom was over-dramatic and clearly dropping the figurine was NBD. Parents.
Moments–seriously MOMENTS later–D2 quietly approached me in the bathroom where I was blow drying my hair any way, even though we were late. Clenched in her right hand, Anna’s body, coated lightly in glitter. In her left, Anna’s severed head, still primed with a white string to hang from the Christmas tree. Decapitated within 2 minutes.
As D2 told me that she was sooooooooo sorry (which is the same as being sooooooo careful, I’ve found, in terms of shaping children’s future behavior), I thought about how children were so hard sometimes because no matter how many times you said something or how seemingly simple the task–‘hold this one small thing that you wanted in your closed hand until we get to the car’–it never worked. And there was breaking and crying and lateness.
I left decapitated Anna on the bathroom counter–Toddlers, ye be warned!–and we left for school with only plastic Elsa, sad and alone once more.
Throughout the day, though, I realized that as rough as parenting toddlers can be, I am pretty flake-y myself. My follow-through, pretty toddler-like, in fact. The work project that I hadn’t sent out specifics for on which other people were waiting. The appointments I needed to call and set up, the chores I needed to do, the errands I needed to run, the more chores I needed to do. The puppy I decided I wanted yesterday, only to realize that . . we can’t have a puppy, so I had to back out and disappoint people, including myself. Today, even, the hour I should have spent prepping dinner and straightening the living room that I instead spent watching Disney Toy Collector and sneaking chocolate chips out of the pantry. Flakey.
I guess the world is too big and the tasks too many, and we are only really able to focus on the handful of certain things that really matter. And the trick is figuring out what those are and doing them well, rather than scrambling to hold all of them.
When I picked D2 up from school, she was running through the playground with a pack of friends. When she saw me, she ran straight over and, with a huge hug, presented me with “the longest piece of grass ever!” She had found it herself almost an hour ago and had been clutching it for me the whole time so that it wouldn’t get lost.
I added the precious grass to my nature jar, which is full of sticks and pine cones, grass and dry flowers that my girls have given more over the years. There was once a period spanning almost two-months when toddler-aged Ella saved me a handful of grass every day (similarly clutched for hours) so that I could share the best part of her day.
We don’t have a whole Christmas ornament Anna anymore. And I did a pretty mediocre job cleaning and planning my work project. But I have the longest blade of grass ever in my nature jar, which seems like evidence of us holding on to the right things.
Lessons: Yes, your baby can be naked in PF Changs, though people get judge-y. Two sets of clothes, always two sets of clothes. Never bring the small pack of wipes. Everything is a wipe in a time of crisis.
One of my favorite commercials ever is from the ‘First Kid, Second Kid’ series by Luvs diapers. They nailed this:
Not that I was THAT much crazy for my first kid. We don’t own that many umbrellas and they hadn’t yet invented squeezy baby food bags. (Seriously. HAD NOT INVENTED. I think I feel about that the way housewives of the 50s must feel about cooking dinner before the microwave: like, why did I even bother to start so early?) But I have some great first-time parent stories.
1. The first time I took Ella to church. I dressed her in a WHITE VELVET dress (Why
do they even HAVE those??) with white tights and a onesie that contrasted perfectly with the dress detailing. And little baby shoes (why do they even HAVE those!??). And a matching hair bow. And she looked beautiful–angelic–and I was ready to show her off and feel perfect and proud. We got there and we sat down and reached in to pull her out for the Pride Rock-esque unveiling.
Sliding my hand under her to lift her out–wait, slimey? So slimey. Oh. OOOOH. Immediate retreat to mother’s room with carseat and slime baby. Can it be washed? No… Can they be saved? No. Do I have anything else…. No. We emerged 40 minutes later, both still somewhat slimey and the baby in a diaper… and a hair bow.
Lessons: no white, no shoes, always extra clothes, try not to leave the house.
2. My first time taking Ella to meet a friend at a REAL RESTAURANT. I had learned: stocked diaper bag, change of clothes, stroller, baby toy. I was ready.
As I parked the car, I checked to make sure everything was in order. And a good thing!! Her diaper was full and her pants a bit un-fresh. NO worries. I have a portable changing pad and extra clothes, so I will just take care of it right here. I am so prepared; she will still be so cute.
We enter the restaurant, friend admires, we order. Then Ella promptly has an adult-size bowel movement made out of baby slime poop that is immediately everywhere. So… we retreat to the bathroom. The ever-so-mildly dirty first pants are out in the car, out of reach; these *ARE* THE BACKUP PANTS!!! I don’t have enough wipes! How do you get paper towels while not leaving your baby unattended?? Should I just throw it all away? That’s wasteful…but this is a restaurant, in America… Can your baby just be naked in PF Changs? Is that allowed?
Lessons: Yes, your baby can be naked in PF Changs, though people get judge-y. Two sets of clothes, always two sets of clothes. Never bring the small pack of wipes. Everything is a wipe in a time of crisis.
3. Calling the doctor to see if my baby was sleeping too much. Yes, I made this call, when Ella was about 4 months old. She slept until 8:00, woke up, ate, went back to sleep until noon, woke up ate, went back to sleep until 3. Two days in a row. I was used to her eating every 90 minutes so this sudden constant sleeping… was she okay? Was something wrong? Was she in a sleep coma because she wasn’t getting enough food? Did she need me to wake her up to eat more often? Was she over stimulated? Was she under stimulated? Should I wake her up to feed her or to stimulate her baby mind more…or less?
Lessons: Babies are almost always fine. Do not ask *why* the baby sleeps; say a quick prayer of thanks, turn on the TV, flip through a magazine, have lunch using two hands, make yourself some brownies. Never wake napping baby.*
Flash forward: Today I had lunch with several friends who have children younger than mine and find themselves still navigating the ‘First Kid’ stage. How far away those problems felt. Worries that needn’t be worried; issues that would sort themselves out; kids who would be just fine.
Gone, for example, is my one-time paranoia about proper bedtime attire and whether the house was too cold and if I could use a blanket or instead needed a baby sleeping bag and what kind and zippers-or-snaps and…
[Me, calling up the stairs, halfheartedly] How is getting on your pajamas? [Silence.] HOW IS GETTING ON YOUR PAJAMAS?! [Silence.] PAAAJAAAMMMAS!!!!!!!!! I am . . . getting ready to put on my pajamas.
… I’ll take it.
The perspective change I’ve already had post-infants probably implies that my updated set of current kid worries will also probably sort themselves out. Time to grab a handful of cheerios and brace.
*This advice is intended to be funny and ironic, not medical or universally applicable. For example, some people have gluten issues with brownies, real or imagined, and I get that. Modify as appropriate for you and your family.
The year is, I guess, 20…20? (I don’t know, actually. I think this guess is influenced by my having just gone to the optometrist.) and you are *on the Internet.*
Maybe its after school. You idolize me still, and want to read the blog you’ve seen me work on over the years, to love and understand me even better. And there you’ll find all of my parenting secrets from your early years. I knew this day would come. Now, you are ready for:
A list of things that I suppose I should tell you now that you can read my blog.
[[Aside to present day readers: The use of “sneaky code names” was at first a bit silly to me. Most of the people who come to this site at present know who I am (except that mystery reader in Qatar. Marhaba, Qatarian fan!) At least until I make it big in the blogging world, which I think mostly happened to people like five years ago. So, I worried that perhaps monikers are more confusing than helpful.
But, I recently read an article about cyber bullying that made me realize the value of code names in minimizing the material easily searchable about my children. I suppose they’ll leave their own internet trail, but I will try not to add to it. After all, I would hate for their friends in high school to know that they spent several years mis-using markers and failing to clear the table.]]
The batteries in musical toys given to you by relatives didn’t really last for one magical day. That was just my patience for them.
The store pretty much always has marshmallows.
I put kale in the milkshakes.
Yes, you had enough allowance money to buy peeps-on-a-stick. And a small bounce-y ball. But I wanted to help you learn about saving and those were terrible purchase ideas.
Sometimes I *did* have a quarter. But those are for parking, not artificially-flavored blue raspberry gumballs that one of you will swallow and one of you will lose in the car.
The cleaners never threw your art in the trash. You made an unsustainable volume of art, some of which was just off-brand pasta glued to green paper. Our house is small. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Eating candy has never made teeth fall out, that I am aware of. I have actually found (from my friend) that if you eat it consistently, you build up immunity and it cannot make you sick, even if you eat it on an otherwise empty stomach. Try not to overdo it.
I put carrots in the smoothies.
When you demanded medicinal cream for extremely minor or imagined injuries, I gave you Vaseline. It worked, though: check your hand! Healed, right?
They did have your size of light-up mock-glass slippers at Target. I just could not own them.
I was not really going to call your teacher/the neighbor/your dad/Santa to confirm your story. I could tell you were lying to me. You would crumble under pressure. Or Santa would actually know about it.
Soap isn’t that expensive. I just drives me crazy that I have to replace it weekly in the bathroom because D2 avoids cleaning time by creating Aerial’s under-the-sea bubble kingdom in the sink and painstakingly filling decorative seashells with soap.
Putting the Kit-Kat under Ella’s pillow from the Tooth Fairy was actually my (in retrospect, poorly thought-out) idea. We were out of dollar bills and I was not going to give you a five. And now you know about how I save quarters. When you gave me the melted part to throw away, I ate it.
Phew, I am glad to get that off my chest. Maybe I’ll make regular installments in this series. I know you’ll still love and seek to understand me. Except when you’re a teenager, which I am already working to make peace with.
Not because it was true, but because it would be nice to be a salaried parent. And I’d be saying something that–when true–probably makes you feel like a really amazing mom.
Professional parenting. Boom.
I am actually a professional at asking my kids six times, using the tonal pattern:
1. so nice, so polite / 2. nice, polite / 3. pretty nice, drop polite / 4. edgy, but sane / 5. threatening loss of privileges with moderate loss of perspective / 6. yelling in that voice I promised I would never use.
That last one is the one that usually works, but I never jump straight to step 6; I am a true professional, and I stick to the system.
Ella currently is in a one-week camp at an MMA studio (which was my idea, you might have guessed; I was hoping it was ‘make you listen and be somewhat coordinated’ boot camp for small people). She described one of her teachers as “less chance-y” than me. Apparently, whereas I give lots and lots of chances to listen before I dole out punishment, Ms. Sarah asks once and then you’re sitting on your knees facing the wall.
Props, Ms. Sarah. Come over anytime–I’ve got a kids’ chore list and a dollar with your name on it.
Small children value, trust, and appreciate parents.
I can tell. Why else would they think we should get to hold their weird treasures and see and touch their disgusting trash without fear that we are judging them?
Well, sometimes I am judging them. And kids over the years have handed me some ridiculous things.
So, so many apple cores. Apple cores in the car. Apple cores at the mall. Apple cores on walks. Apple cores while apple picking. Apple cores while in the grocery store buying apples. And I never get to play ‘Apple core, Baltimore.’
Food. Not new food. Not delicious or fresh or clean food. Mostly food that they tried eating (because I made them or they didn’t inspect closely beforehand) and disliked so intensely they couldn’t bring themselves to swallow. So they eject the masticated food into the obvious receptacle: my palm. Some restaurants are just not for toddlers.
Toddler underwear. Usually underwear that has had a really terrible day. The hand-off of the unfortunate underwear usually happens when company is over and is inevitably followed with an overly blunt summary of the potty misfortune and a promise to NEVEREVERDOTHATAGAIN. They never ever follow through on the nevereveragain promise. Potty training has won so many battles. Probably I will win the war. It is a long war.
Personal items. Things that adults–if left to their own senses–would never want to touch at all. Where they would use latex gloves or hire professionals or squeal and then compulsively wash their hands. But, once you have kids, that stuff becomes stuff you stuff directly into your jeans pocket until you can fish it out and discard/display at an appropriate time. At last week’s playdate, for example:
Friend’s child: “[Ella]’s mom! here, look at this!”
Me: “Is this. . .”
Friend’s child: “Yeah! My tooth just came out! Will you save it for my mom?”
Vomit. You know sometimes when you are driving your car with a passenger in shotgun and you have to break really hard and you instinctively put your arm out to the side even though the passenger is an adult and you don’t need to do that and your arm would not prevent disaster anyway? And you think, why do I have that useless instinct? But in the moment of car crisis, you just do it? That is what happens when my kids are right, right next to me in a public, non-bathroom space and then they suddenly throw up. I instinctively catch it. Does it make sense? No. Can I stop it? Not yet. I have a great airplane story. Ask me some time you want to appreciate business travel.
Goo. I don’t know how toddlers always have this. But they do. And when they’re done with it, they give it back to the universe. And by universe, I mean mostly just me.
I broke my egg. The white gooshed out, but here is the yellow.
My own things, in less pristine condition. The dreaded “I borrowed…was an accident… really sorry.” Like ‘I borrowed your beautiful ring and then we were playing buried treasure and I buried it and now we can’t find it, but here is your spoon that we used to dig for it and it got bent. I am really sorry.’ Or ‘I took your necklace. And then, I am sorry to say, it got itself broken. Outside. Most of the beads are still in the bush, but I got a few back for you! Can you get the rest?’
Mysteries, waiting for answers. These are always gross mysteries that I would not choose to study if I was ever given proper warning. Do you think this is animal poop or melted chocolate? I cannot tell and I *never* want to hold it if we’re not sure. You figure it out. Just don’t taste it, come back inside, or touch me again.
Thoughtful toddler presents. Like how D2 had a two-month phase where she would bring me seashells filled with hand soap. And Ella collected “nature” that I still display in a vase on the bookshelf; except an omitted piece of bubble gum. Because while it was in nature, we decided it wasn’t actuallynature. From my hand, straight to the trash.
D2 is getting older. Three, to be exact, which is pretty big and grown-up. And she is ready to do all sorts of things herself that grown-ups used to do for her. She dresses herself (today she is wearing both a dress and a maxi skirt–fashion at its finest), she makes her own lunch (mostly granola bars) and reads her own stories (mostly about fairies and High School Musical).
I like independence and there are quite a few things I am ready to stop doing as a parent, so I roll with toddler independent streaks. So today, when it was time to take cupcakes to our neighbors and she asked if she could carry them, well, I considered it.
These were amazing cupcakes. Yellow cake, whipped chocolate frosting, multi-colored sprinkles. Light and fluffy and chocolate-y and delicious. For the first batch, Ella carried the cupcakes and D2 delivered the accompanying card. Super successful. I watched from the door, seeing their adorableness on the sunny porch on an almost spring-ish day. Dresses and sunshine and cupcakes. Ahh.
When they got back, D2 asked Ella if she could puuuuhhhh-leease carry the cupcakes this time to the second house. This was a fuller plate (larger family). It was a much longer walk. There was a stiff breeze and she was wearing a maxi skirt, which they don’t actually sell for people her size, so its too long. This was a risky gamble.
I remembered the last time D2 got to “carry the cupcakes.” Last October for a cake walk. She dropped the cupcakes face down within 10 steps, smooshing them terribly into the plastic wrap. We still took them, but I don’t think they went in the first round.
Today, in retrospect, I should have wrapped them. But I thought that might give her a false sense of security, as I remembered how stuck the dropped ones got last time. So I just encouraged her to “Be so careful. Walk so slow. Be sooooo careful. Walk sooooo slow.”
They were off. I watched her slow progress across the courtyard. I could feel looming disaster and fragile hope, swirling together in the almost-spring wind. Ella dashed across the grass, carrying nothing but a card, while D2 painstakingly followed. Slow, careful steps. Man, she is cute and she is trying so hard. She is listening. She is getting so big.
She made it farther than I thought she would before it all went down. Near the large oak tree a protruding branch, or a strong gust, or the malicious hand of fate tripped her up. She was moving so slowly that it actually was slow motion. The cupcakes flew up in the air and gracefully arced in all directions towards the wet, leafy mulch.
I ran; the neighbor ran. Everyone was too late. D2 was crushed, picking up the gorgeous cupcakes, now decorated with “disgusting nature.” The neighbor said thank you and told her they looked like they had been delicious. D2 put them sadly back on the plate and headed to the house. She carried them successfully the whole way.
So, we’re making new cupcakes. And she threw those ones away all by herself and told me that this afternoon I could help her carry the next batch.