For Tacklerism Tuesday, we resume the Tale of The Tackler Turning Four: Exorcising the Terrible Threes.
When we last left our dynamic daredevil, he was on his best behavior following a massive grocery store run that nearly ended as an epic fail – thanks to the Credit Card Makeover (read Part 1 if you missed it).
His sidekick, Lil Diva, was exhausted from consuming a three course meal during the excursion and promptly passed out before the groceries were even unloaded.
Without missing a beat, the Tackler switched into Big Birthday Boy Helper Mode – and aided me by carrying the non-breakable groceries inside.
Then it was time.
Operation Cupcake Baking and Decorating with a Four Year Old.
It all began with Betty Crocker, because when you’re baking with a newly crowned four year old while a younger toddler takes what will most likely be a too-short nap – and you still need time to divide the batter into regular and mini-sized cupcake tins – it is important to use a recipe with as few ingredients as possible. Our flavor of choice: triple chocolate.
The Tackler inherited Chocoholic Syndrome from his Mimi.
Baking with the Tackler is typically one of the more enjoyable moments in parenting. In fact, if I didn’t have a Lil Diva underfoot, I’d bake with him all of the time – because I have yet to have one unpleasant baking experience with him.
The key: Set the Rules Before You Start.
Rule 1: No tasting anything IN the bowl – until we’re finished.
Rule 2: No licking fingers. If you do, you have to wash your hands again.
Rule 3: Don’t touch anything until I say it is okay and wait patiently if Mommy turns her back. This includes sticking your fingers in the bowl.
Rule 4: No tasting ANYTHING IN the bowl – reinforced for level of extreme temptation.
The Tackler waited very patiently, then “helped” me: crack the eggs (resulting in an Egg Shell Fishing Expedition), measure the ingredients (telling me when to stop as we worked on learning fractions), pour the ingredients, and hold the mixer to blend them. He then excelled at Cupcake Wrapper Placement while I filled the cups.
We were on the final tray when the Lil Diva woke up, extremely pissed off. I had one batch in the oven, and a partial tray to complete, and the SCREAMING BANSHEE leeched to me in classic Mommy Hugger Mode.
I was desperate, and turned to my friend for help: The DVD Player.
Toy Story 3 (the second movie works also) gave me a thirty minute window to de-Divafy me and finish the cupcakes.
It also took away my helper, the lure of the movie too strong to resist, at least until Bowl Licking Time – the predominant reason The Tackler loves to help bake.
If only my camera worked to capture the chocolate batter coated face and fingers from this classic, time honored tradition.
By now it was late in the afternoon, I still hadn’t wrapped his presents, the cupcakes weren’t decorated, and my wailing Banshee had hit her thirty minute TV limit. Nothing would happen until CG arrived home.
The evening then unfolded like this:
- CG immediately lit the grill to cook the birthday boy’s requested meal of hot dogs – including a few delicious filets for him, me, and my mother-in-law.
- My mother-in-law attempted to entertain the Lil Diva. She didn’t care.
- We inhaled our delicious dinner – Lil Diva joining her brother in Hot Dog Devouring – and I hurried to clean up the kitchen.
- The Tackler and I then pulled out the sprinkles and other toppings to decorate the cupcakes. Because we are less than ninety minutes from bedtime, we only decorated a handful – the ones that would be eaten that night.
- I raced from a very successful cupcake decoration – the Tackler’s designated cupcake so coated with “toppings” you could barely see the chocolate frosting peeking through – to speed wrap presents. No care was given. No creases were straight. I wrapped ten presents in the most haphazard fashion – giant gaps dotted throughout, although not large enough to view what was underneath – knowing they would create excellent ripping points.
- Twenty minutes later I emerged, finding my mother-in-law had left while CG took the kids on a Pre-Cupcake Devouring, Energy Burning Walk.
- I “called” my parent’s house using Facetime on my iPod. My g-rents were over there as well, and they all looked on as The Tackler tore into the presents designated as from “them” as well as the gifts from CG and I. He quickly thanked the giver of the gifts, before ripping into the next one, flying through the pile in under five minutes.
- We immediately moved to cupcake time. The Number Four candle was lit and placed into the overly sprinkled cupcake as all of us – my family still watching over the iPod – sang “Happy Birthday” to him. They looked on as his cupcake vanished, then witnessed Lil Diva’s chocoholic gene as she ate her mini cupcake and demanded bites of CG’s.
It made me so thankful the technology exists to share these moments when my family lives over 900 miles away.
Good-byes were spoken as Lil Diva was whisked off to bath time – her face covered in chocolate frosting while the Tackler had some play time with his toys.
Minus the minor inconveniences of the Credit Card “what the frak?” moment at the store and a very cranky post-nap Lil Diva – it was the perfect day.
Little did I know, that Saturday would prove to be just as awesome….
Stay tuned for Part 3….
What awesome moment of parenting did you have in your life recently?
Also, a suggestion for Toddler Talk Thursdays: How do you teach your toddler they aren’t Buzz Lightyear, and cannot fly, without letting them try to fly? In other words: How do you keep a kamikaze toddler safe?