(I wonder how many parenting horror stories have started with that first line. Maybe not the "cupcake tops" part, exactly, but something similar... I'm betting lots.)
I returned downstairs not five minutes later and found Annika with the can of spray-on decorator icing firmly planted in her cheek pocket. She was deploying the valve with her eyes half-closed, lost in her own decadence. Meanwhile, Frankie sat beside her, joyfully shaking a bottle of pink sugar sprinkles onto her own head. And did I mention that it was time for Annika's prednisone?
Holy sugar-mainlining hyperactive steroid exploding crap.
I'm happy to report that my old friend, self-protective amnesia, is already on the job and I don't remember any of the specifics from that afternoon, but I can tell you that I felt a strong urge to curl myself into a teeny-tiny ball just writing the words above.
Now about the "cupcake tops" bit... A few days ago Anni decide that she haaaaaaad to have cupcakes, that her very happiness for the rest of her life depended upon having chocolate cupcakes. Now.
So, having quit my job and having told the preschool that Annika can't return until her bleeding issues are under control and having put Frankie down for one of her marathon naps that prevent her from going to sleep before 10:30 because she cannot stand to sleep because she obviously is having some abandonment issues...well, Anni and I had nothing but time on our hands to make some chocolate cupcakes.
We had fun making them together, and I am awfully impressed at how far she's come in her egg-cracking skills just this summer, I must say. But then we went to put the batter in the cups and discovered that we were out of those little pastel paper cup liners. Now Annika loves peeling off that paper more than just about anything in the world, so this was a real blow. But, drawing on my quick-thinking mommy skills, I whipped her into a frenzy of excitement at the possibility of making mini cupcakes instead! Could there be anything cuter than itsy-bitsy cupcakes? They're just like babies! Except for the eating them part!
Now since we usually use the paper liners, I forgot all about greasing and flouring the cups. We do live in a world of non-stick muffin pans, though, so I thought I would be alright.
And, you know, maybe I would have been alright if it weren't for the whole "forgetting the cupcakes are in the oven" part of the story.
As we rushed downstairs in a panic, Annika grabbed my hand. She pulled me to a stop and gave me her most beatific smile. "This is just like Aunt Pat!" she declared.
As usual, she was right. My Aunt Pat was notorious for her kitchen hijinks. Many of the stories Annika loved hearing the most about her late Great-Aunt were the ones revolving around Pat's love/hate relationship with her stove. Aunt Pat burned so many things in her kitchen (cookies, pizza, her purse, her own eyebrows) that she developed her own Theory of Burnt Food, namely that burnt food is still OK to eat as long as you eat it right away. So her son, Cliff, and his siblings loved it when their mom burnt the cookies, because it meant that they all sat down to eat up all the cookies immediately. Every last one of them. Still, in recent years it is Cliff that has taken over the cookie making for their family, and he is justifiably proud of his skills.
Annika, for her part, was beaming with happiness, as if everything now finally made sense for her. She has been struggling so hard with the concept of death and loss. And she is not one to drop a subject until she not only understands it, but accepts the rightness of it. So, in trying to explain to her that, although Aunt Pat's body is gone and we can't play with her or hug her or talk to her on the telephone anymore, we can still have Aunt Pat with us when we feel our love for her and when we remember stories about her. Up until this point, though, Annika seemed to view this explanation as supremely unsatisfactory. Now, having suddenly reminded herself of Aunt Pat at an unexpected moment, she seemed to accept that perhaps there was something to the idea of holding on to someone through stories, even after death.
In the end, the bottoms of the cupcakes were unsalvageable. So we just took a knife and lopped off their tops, for a much higher frosting to cake ratio that both girls found delightful.
In medical news: we're off to Chicago on Thursday for the next round of banding, and to meet with the surgeon for the shunt surgery. I hope we'll be back home by Saturday night, but I'm packing for longer.
Finally, saving the best for last...In my last post, I wished that our family were living September as we had planned it: Anni in preschool, me teaching again, and Frankie expanding her vocabulary to include those (always entertaining) inadvertently R-rated mispronunciations. We're not there, of course, but Frankie is at least striving for a PG-13 malapropism. As Annika, Frankie, and neighbor friend, Sabrina, were assigning Princess roles to one another for their favorite board game, Frankie declared that she was going to be "Sleeping Booby." Sabrina, the very model of second-grade decorum, gasped and covered her mouth in shock when she heard this. But Annika, and oh how I love this girl, collapsed on the floor laughing and then just kept asking Frankie, "Who are you going to be, Frankie?"
So I guess you could actually say that I saved the breast for last.