I threw my kids’ cupcakes in the garbage last week. Even though I could feel the thankiness of Thanksgiving approaching (and I wanted to bask in the warm glow of a Bath and Body Works Salted Caramel Candle) I did it. I threw their cupcakes away right in front of their faces.
“Mommy, all of your hard work!” my son whimpered as he watched me dump the two I’d saved for them from a batch that I’d worked hard to bake for our Temple’s holiday bake fair. He was right. I was punishing myself as well. I was acting anti-thankful.
What would drive a normally loving, turkey-basting mother to do this to the family that she goes to bed every night being so very thankful for? I’ll tell you. I was exhausted and frustrated from running around like a lunatic — what are the odds that I was on lunch duty and after school activity duty in the same week when the thought of preparing for Thanksgiving was looming large? I was frustrated that we go through this torturous morning routine daily. I will admit that my kids were extra flippin’ crazy that particular morning so much so that I checked the Halloween stash because I thought they might’ve gotten into it and were running on extra sugar. Not the case.
Teasing and yelling had already unfolded but the thing that pushed me over the edge was that my oldest was taunting the middle one, “This is my side of the couch. You’re annoying. It’s my turn to pick a TV show.” etc. and so he kicked her in the calf. Hard. I’d already warned the both of them to stop the teasing and this included a side rant about my no tolerance policy for children ‘using physical force’ on each other. I’d already warned them twice that they would lose their dessert for the day if this behavior continued.
My two-year-old was orbiting around the island singing, “Oh Mister Sun” like a human satellite and the dog was chasing after her, barking. It might be helpful to add that my husband had been away on business for the whole week and my au pair was off-duty that morning.
The whole scenario brought back memories of the “Calgon, take me away!” commercial that I used to watch as a kid. Remember the one where the mom would lie back in the bubble bath at the end of an insane day of the phone ringing off the hook and the baby crying. The only differences here were that this day had just begun and we don’t have a cord on our phone.
“Guys, please stop. You should be thankful for each other.” I tried a different tactic. Shocker, I was ignored.
“This is your third and final warning. If you don’t stop it you’ll lose dessert.” This time I was really stearn. Still no acknowledgement.
I got so frustrated that I stopped preparing breakfast, went over to the garbage can, pulled it open, clapped my hands together like a flamenco dancer to get their attention and dumped the cupcakes.
The look of shock on their faces was pretty shocking to behold. They stopped while the little one and the dog continued orbiting unaware.
They started to cry. Great. Now I’d created a worse situation for myself.
“Guys, I warned you three times.”
“You didn’t say you would throw away our cupcakes,” my oldest wailed.
She was right. In the whole warning speech, I hadn’t specifically said that I would dispose of the cupcakes if they didn’t stop. I only said no dessert for the day. So, now what? I started to feel guilty. I’d done the whole 1-2-3 thing wrong. Right?
The feeling of relief and triumph that I’d expected to feel was brief at best and then gave way to guilt. I threw away my kids cupcakes. Ugh.
In retrospect, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself mother of the year for pulling this stunt but it did make the morning run much more smoothly. I dropped them to school still a bit stressed over the whole thing but I struggled to remain thankful. Since it is a house rule that we never go to school mad at each other, I gave them kisses goodbye.
“I’m sorry I dumped your cupcakes but could guys please just behave tomorrow morning?” They nodded yes and kissed me back. I said, “Thank you.”
At the holiday fair I bought them chocolate chip cookies and when they got home from school they were happy. They didn’t remind me that they weren’t supposed to have dessert for the day and I pretended I didn’t remember. They were good the next day too and I suppose that is something to be thankful for.