So I wake up in a cold sweat this morning realizing that today is the day I said I would bring Tall’s birthday treats to school. Still in my pajamas, I dart into the kitchen like a crazy person. Let’s see, do I have all the ingredients I need: Butter? No. Flour? Nope. Three hours to make something fabulous? Negative.
I flashback to the (stupid, pointless) well-intentioned email I had sent to Tall’s teacher only days before:
“Dear Miss Teacher,
I plan to bring homemade cupcakes to class on Thursday to celebrate Tall’s 7th birthday!
What the heck was I thinking? Homemade cupcakes? Way to establish expectations, MOV.
*Persuasive Disclaimer: I’ve been working insane holiday hours at the high-end kitchen store lately. I am not just a complete lazy loser (well, sometimes I am, but in this instance, I’m just time-deprived).
Anyway, I’m realizing that brownies would be infinitely easier than my original plan of the Martha Stewart cupcake extravaganza. No, wait. Brownies are still too hard. They involve melting chocolate and probably stirring. WhatshouldIdowhatshouldIdo? I am clashing around the kitchen, looking for essential ingredients or at the very least a small jar of inspiration.
The Husband walks into the kitchen (it is 6 AM after all, his normal time to get up and go to work and not have to stress about a child’s birthday treats and the child’s subsequent rise or fall in the elementary school pecking order depending on the success and popularity of said treats).
“Whatcha doing, Sweetie?” he leans in for the hug and I feel like smacking him with a rolling pin.
“WHAT DO YOU THINK I’M DOING?!? I’M HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN.” I say in my typical affectionate morning greeting. Then, I quickly give him the particulars of my sad and dire situation.
“No problem,” he says in a voice that is way too perky for 6 AM, “Remember we have cookie dough in the extra fridge in the garage.”
This new information has earned him a hug. Yeah! Cookie dough in the other refrigerator! Who knew?
I had completely forgotten that my very nice neighbor, A, had asked me to store about 15 tubs of cookie dough for her daughter’s school fundraiser. (Looks like I will be buying one of those tubs myself: I mean, this is what anyone would consider an emergency situation.)
I pre-heat the oven. I retrieve the dough. Oatmeal cookies. Huh. Not my favorite, but 6 AM beggars cannot be choosers. I decide to liven up the boring dough by adding some chocolate chips. Not bad.
I dutifully make four batches in rapid succession. Amazingly, they taste great: they could almost pass for homemade.
Right about this time, Tall is drawn into the kitchen by the scent of the warm cookies baking. “Mmmmm. What are you making, Mommy?” He is smiling the kind of smile you smile when you are seven years old and wake up to fresh-baked cookies.
“Cookies. For your class. For your birthday.” I offer.
“My birthday? Oh, wait,” pause, “I thought you were going to do cupcakes? I thought you said cupcakes?” he queries.
I can’t read him. Is he mad? Is he happy? Does he like cookies better? Is he going to jump up and down cheering, or will he start crying and throwing things?
He does none of these things. He shrugs. He picks up a banana off the counter and walks out.
I put all the cookies in a large Tupperware container (well, when I say “all”, we know that I am just using the term in its loosest sense. “All” here really means “all minus three”). I congratulate myself on finishing in time at the 879th event in the Mommy Olympics.
Tall goes to school. I am sitting at the computer, wondering what to write for my blog today. I get an email.
Thank you so much for sending in the special treat with Tall for his birthday! Those cookies were absolutely delicious, and I was wondering if I could get the recipe?
How do I respond to that? Should I be upfront and tell her it was a frozen mix? Honesty is the best policy, so I dash off a quick email back to her:
“Dear Miss Teacher,
Thank you. I am so glad everyone liked the treats! I’m happy to give you the recipe, except that it is my great-grandmother’s special secret recipe and she made me swear when she was dying not to ever give it to anyone. The ghost of great-grandma coming after me for dishonoring her wishes is not a good image. I’m sure you understand.
Good thing Short’s birthday is not until July. I have a little more time to prepare.
(“Mom’s Oatmeal Variation”)