Friday, March 13, 2009

It's all about the kids

We attended our son’s Cub Scout “Blue and Gold” banquet this week. I brought an extra large crockpot device full of red sauce pasta with sausage to the local elementary school. I felt like a mid-Western sahm in ways I had never before experienced.

A few days prior, my husband informed me that the children of my son’s den were to create a dessert for this event. They would get together at our house the evening before and make it themselves.

“It’s all about the kids learning to do it themselves,” he said.

In a sort of off-hand way, he told me that two of the other mothers (who I know, of course) had said they have an AWESOME idea for THEIR den, but it was a secret.

Oh, come now. You don’t say such things to your ultra-competitive wife. It was simply a cruel thing to say. Now, I would have to restrain myself. (Yes, I bet my husband knew what he was doing.)

I came up with an idea.

We would go with a pinewood derby theme. The kids would each make a ‘car cupcake.’ I happen to have a ‘car cupcake’ pan, so that was too easy. That’s what we did. I made some cakes ahead of time, but my husband had the boys make cake from scratch. While theirs were in the oven, I pulled out my already-cooled-off cakes for them to decorate, FoodNetwork style. We had fun candies and spray frosting – the kids did it all themselves.

For the sake of presentation, the kids drew their own “race track” on poster board on which to place the cars. Perfect.

I was feeling a little guilty about it, but I went ahead and made a sheet cake for the centerpiece from the leftover cupcake batter. The checkered flag and tassels in the picture are all made out of fondant. I tried to keep it simple. I restrained myself. This was all about the kids. We let them be creative and messy. I sat on my hands while they worked.

We quickly set up the dessert at the elementary school, and went to sit down. One of the mothers I knew came in with fruit. Fruit?

It felt like a good fifteen or twenty minutes that those three or four parents were working on constructing this elaborate fruit display. Seriously. This thing had several levels, fondant snakes, dirt cake for dirt – impressive for sure.

I tried not to watch. My brain had this argument.

“Don’t be competitive!”

“Oh, well, it’s fruit, and the parents are doing it. It should have been about the kids.”

“Don’t be so competitive! You are such a child.”

“There are fruit flowers! What, is this the girl scouts? Seriously.”

“Stop it. Who cares?”

“I wonder if the kids were really involved in that.”

“Sour grapes. Get over it.”

Thank goodness, I thought. I could restrain myself. I’ve recognized my competitiveness and overcome it. I’m a good mom. And then, one of the dads from our den leaned over.

“That’s a pretty nice display there, I think they showed us up.”

“Yeah, well, the gloves are coming off next year,” I nodded slowly.


Well, not really. It will be all about the kids next year too. And, next year, I will squirm in my seat just as much as I did this year. It is just who I am.


Flea said...

Too funny! Chris helped Than make his Pinewood Derby car last year and it was gorgeous. Too bad the boy didn't make the whole thing himself. :) You're a good mom.

Anonymous said...

Oh I hate it when the moms do what their kids should be doing - so unfair!

But your kids benefited and that's what's important.

Indy said...

I am cracking up here. As a child of parents that rarely did things for me, I did my own projects, I say thank you for letting them do it. When you told me about this, I never imagined that they would have such an elaborate fruit display. Aren't you glad that you are blogging so you will never forget this? You'll be telling this story when you are an old lady. And have pics to prove it. That was something.

MIT Mommy said...

You guys are too sweet. Thanks for the encouragement.

My parents didn't do things for me either. And, my husband tells stories of his all-by-himself made pinewood derby car. He didn't exactly win. He did help Andrew on that one, but 6 year old boys shouldn't be using power tools. You can tell no mother was involved in designing that project for the age group involved.

Laura said...

And I bet your den would say that their's was the best. Cake always wins over fruit no matter how pretty the fruit is. PLus they each made a masterpiece!

Angela said...

I'm way too competitive to let something like this go. I would have done one and let the kids do one, the more cake the merrier right?

I remember being at a loss when my parents didn't help me and when they did, I didn't think they were giving me a free ride, I just felt they were involved.

Whenever I help with projects, I always let my kids decide on creative decisions and just help with the implementation. It's what a good software engineer does!

Brigette said...

Your racing cake and car cupcakes made by the boys themselves are absolutely, positively better -- not to mention more in the spirit of BOY Scouts AND letting the kids do it themselves -- than some lame, pansy-ass bouquet of fruit flowers, for crying out loud.

Not that I'm biased -- or competitive myself -- or anything.

OHmommy said...

i would have taken a picture of THAT fruit display too!

but only for my own entertaining ideas. show offs!

MIT Mommy said...

Angela - I would expect no less from a fellow alumnus.

Brigette - Exactly. No, I'm sure you aren't competitive. You don't seem opinionated either.

OHmommy - We'll have to forget about that picture so we can be surprised later.