Trouble with cupcakes (another throw-back story)

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from June 1998

I’m ready to give up parenting Spunky. Hell, she’ll be four in a couple of days, the important work is done, right? I can just sit back and observe from now on because I know that nothing I ever tell her will penetrate into her logic center. She is that she is and I’ll just get outta the way.

When we went to the hardware store, I didn’t expect to get through it without someone having a head injury, but she actually remembered not to touch anything and not to *shtoonck* the screwdrivers into any sales people. Even when I couldn’t see her but could only hear the *whomp-whomp-whomp* of her sneakers in the next aisle, I felt a warm certainty that she was doing all the right things.

Afterward I lathered her with praise while she wriggled with proud glee in the car seat. Then she reached out to pet me ever-so gently and suggested in hushed tones that she would love to buy a cupcake.

“Sure!” I said, “We’ll buy two and we can share. One for my Middlest Angel and one for me, Deal?”


In spite of the best suggestions of the professionals, the only behavioral feedback thingies that work with her are sweets and fear: the Snack-or-Smack strategy. I don’t have to produce the snacks or the smacks most of the time; she can sense my intentions.

This time, I had my snack face on. So we found a couple of cupcakes at another store, and she clutched them to her chest while I drove home.

I barely had time to settle baby Bo on the floor before Spunky started assaulting the wrapping. I eased her into the dining room and watched her dump the cupcakes onto the table. I didn’t particularly want a cupcake, but I didn’t let her know that.

The rest of the proceedings unfolded in a grim and disgusting way. She crammed the entire frosted top of the cupcake into her mouth for starters. She moved closer to me, making frantic glorphing noises.

Then she tried to speak, “Um wum duh uddah wum!”

“What?” I found that I couldn’t back up any further, “Chew, honey. Don’t try to talk–Ick!–just slow down.”

“AH WUMT DUH UDDER WUN!” she sprayed me with sticky chocolate crumbs.

“No, the other one is for me, remember.” She finally swallowed.

I offered her the lower half of her cupcake. “Besides, you’re not even finished with this one.”

“I doan want it. I want the udder one!”

“Look. This part has filling in it.” I tried again. “It’s like more icing inside.”

If she had a proboscis it would have flung right out then, instead the second half was snuffled and then crammed into her mouth.


“It’s for me. We had a deal.” At this point nothing in existence could have persuaded me to give up that cupcake, even though the thought of eating it was making me nauseated.

“AH CHANGED MUH MIND!” More crumb spray.

“No, we had a deal, honey. A deal’s a deal.”

“A deal is a deal…UNLESS I CHANGE MY MIND!”

So, yeah, I ate the hell out of that second cupcake and it was horrible.

Waddaya think?

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