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Little Miss Detective

Since Maddie turned 2 a few months ago
we’ve eased up on the sugar restriction – up to that
point, she’d never had dessert as we tried to develop in her
a love for all things growing and vitamin-laden. But not wanting to
make our child into the one who hides in her closet at midnight
eating Twinkies, we started introducing her to treats a few times a
month. Maddie definitely loves cookies and ice cream but
doesn’t yet ask for them daily, which is great.

Unfortunately, the fact that she now eats sweets has serious
ramifications for Mommy. One of our favorite things to do together
on a rainy day is bake: Maddie can spoon and level flour and sugar
like nobody’s business, and recognizes a stick of unsalted
butter from across the room. If she even hears the clink of the
measuring spoons she comes running to see what’s up, and any
sighting of ingredients will lead her to start dragging her
“helper” stool out of the corner so she can climb up
and work properly. And since ninety percent of my recipes start
with the words “Cream the butter and sugar together”,
she can pretty much tell at a glance how far into the recipe
I’ve gotten without her.

In the past I could bake to my heart’s content and simply
hide the cookies away to eat later, after she’d gone to bed.
Since she’d never tasted cookies or cupcakes, she
didn’t really care what happened to them after the fun of
baking was over.

Now, though, Maddie cares deeply.

Which means that every time we bake I have
to tell her ahead of time where the goods are destined:
“Maddie, let’s make Miss Ingrid’s birthday
cake,” or “It’s time to make banana bread for
Miss Susan!” Maddie will accept this pretty good-naturedly,
and understands that while I may let her have one cookie from the
batch, there’s no sampling of cakes. As you can guess, she
roots for cookies.

The other night, though, I’d had a hard couple of years
– I mean, months – I mean, days – and was craving
some sugar cookies. Maddie loves making these because she gets
great joy from sprinkling the colored sugar crystals on top of the
cookie slices. So I figured, what the heck, I’d make a batch
with her and eat them when she went to bed.

“Maddie, can you come help me in the kitchen?” Next
thing I see is the trail of smoke her feet have left as she runs
in. “What am I making?” I ask teasingly.

Maddie thoughtfully looks at the eggs and butter warming on the
countertop. Then she spies the sugar crystals. “Sugar
cookies!" We set to work, measuring and sifting companionably
together. Then, the questions start.

“Mommy, are these cookies all for us?”

“No, honey, they’re for someone else,” I reply as
I mentally say, “They’re for ME, not US!”

“Who are these cookies for?”

Now here’s where we get into a sticky situation. I believe in
not lying to my kids, but there’s no way I’m telling
her Mommy’s planning on scarfing a dozen big ones while
watching Tivo in a couple hours. So I try to be general and throw
her off.

“Well, honey, lots of people like to get cookies, so I make
cookies for my friends.” True statement – I often make
cookies for friends.

“What friend is getting these cookies?” Dang it.

“A friend at church.” I feel this conversation
spiraling out of control.

“Which friend?”

“A friend of mommy’s.” I am trying desperately to
not get pinned down but know I’ve lost this one. My kid is

“Which friend of Mommy’s?” What are you, with the
CIA??? A $#@ friend, OK? “Um, Aunt Abby!”

“Mommy!” Maddie looks at me disapprovingly, shaking her
head. Crap. My kid can see right through my lies. I am so busted.
Flop sweat pops out on my forehead. And then she says,

“Silly Mommy. Aunt Abby is MY friend, too.”


Of course, we ate one cookie apiece, and Maddie even magnanimously
set one aside for Daddy (though I think she was hoping he’d
decline and give it to her). I then dutifully boxed up some of the
cookies to bring to Abby on Sunday so my toddler wouldn’t
make a liar out of me.

And you should have seen my friend’s puzzled face when I
handed her a bag of cookies and said, “Here’s the sugar
cookies, like you wanted.”


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