Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Joy of Cupcakes

NaBloPoMo#17: One of the things I enjoy about parenting is the opportunity to create different ways of learning and fun for Maiya. The other day Maiya was asking to make cupcakes, so I downloaded a recipe from the internet, but was kind of intimidated by the fact that I lacked all of the ingredients, and decided that maybe I would try first getting a box of carrot cake mix from the store. Tonight, after dinner, we made cupcakes for the first time.

What fun we had! Maiya helped pour the mix, the water, the oil, watched me crack the eggs, and helped hold the mixer. She placed the paper cup liners in the pan one-by-one, and watched with anticipation as we poured the batter into the pan, counting each one as we went along. It's early math and developmentally appropriate. And the joy and excitement while watching the cupcakes rising in the oven.

Of course, just because it's joyous, doesn't mean it goes without tears and meltdowns. She's 2. While it was baking, I was doing the dishes and she was sitting on her stool watching them rise, and I was warning her to keep from coming too close. She wants it now. I tell her she has to wait 7 minutes until the timer buzzes, and 5 seconds later, she has turned back the timer so it buzzes. I snap at her, that now I don't know how much time before it's done.

Maiya starts turning the oven light on and off. Mama 's warning begins: Ok, Maiya that's enough. Either turn it on or turn it off, it's not a toy. Ok, that's it. If you touch it again, I'm taking you out of here. So she touches it again, looking at me and daring me to do something about it. So, I'm taking her out and she's going limp on me and crying. Tony comes and takes her outside for a few minutes to look at the moon.

Then after they're done, we're very excited. We wait 10 minutes for one to cool off to test. We go and look at it and I take the knife and cut it in 4 pieces. The girl goes nutso. No Mommy, Mine! No Cut. Meltdown! Screaming and crying dramatically, like her life is over. Tony comes in and takes it away from her because she is trying to grab more than one piece. I explain later that we are testing it and it is a family cupcake, and that later when they're cooled off, we are going to frost them and she can have one. I decide that we will take a shower or bath while we are waiting for them to cool off.

Later, we're showered and clean. I frost and give her a cupcake. She is so happy. This might be the happiest moment of her 2 3/4 years of life. Ok, may be a slight exaggeration, but she is thanking me and telling me how much she loves it and how good it is. The girl enjoys every bite. She has frosting on her forehead and eyebrows and crumbs all over her face. I'm tired, but happy, too. She won't be 2 much longer, and I'm sure that we're creating memories and starting a tradition of us spending quality time together.


cynematic said...

oh my yes, the volatile, impassioned 2+ year old times. maybe you try these strategies already, but i found narrating every single thing, so nothing was a surprise, sometimes helped forestall the meltdowns. for example, "oh look, the cupcakes are just out of the oven and too hot to touch, so i'll put them over here. and we'll keep our hands away for now. and then we'll cut one cupcake into sections so we can all have a little taste test. does that sound like a good plan? etc etc" because i think what sometimes triggered the meltdown for the Unreliable Narrator was that he was so excited being a part of the happenings that he just assumed X, Y, & Z would happen next. and sometimes that totally ran counter to what mama had planned. but if he had the stream-of-consciousness explanation then he could track what was going to happen next, and either get with the program or voice his wishes and change the program.

just a thought. no biggie, and definitely not a critique. YMMV. i still do this talking through (modified) with the Unreliable Narrator if we're cooking or doing some other project so he knows what and how we'll proceed.

by the way, love cooking with the kiddies! it's so much fun!

Jenni said...

that's a great idea. it makes a lot of sense. I do that occasionally, but i can see how it can work in these types of situations. Thanks!