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Location: Allentown, PA

I'm a Christian wife and a mom to three daughters and two sons. I'm a member of the board of directors of EmPoWeReD Birth. In my "spare time" I'm a doula, and a certified childbirth instructor.

Friday, November 04, 2005

When chocolate cake all over the kitchen is NOT a sign of a little boy who gave in to temptation...

I have to admit, I didn't handle the situation very well.

My nerves were frayed. I've been sick all week, and just got a diagnosis of strep throat this morning. My husband was sick for the previous 3 weeks. Our oldest daughter's 7th birthday party is scheduled for tomorrow (that's technically TODAY now...).

In the afternoon I baked two cakes--a chocolate layer cake for the kids, and a carrot cake for the adults. Jason, our 3 year old, had enthusiastically helped me with mixing the batters. I carefully explained to the kids (and especially Jason) that the cakes were for TOMORROW. They were left on the back of the stove to cool until I would have time to frost them later in the evening.

My husband had gone to work, I had cleaned up from dinner and was taking a break. I knew Jason and Sean were in the garage playing the piano, and left them to that. But after a few minutes Sean came running inside crying--and trailing greenish-teal fluff behind him. I quickly identified it as grass seed (what is that fluff they put it in now anyway?). Looking into the garage, I saw more of it scattered about, and that the side door to the garage was open and Jason was coming in with the bag.

I walked over, and saw fluff scattered thickly outside the door. Sigh. A mess to clean up. I corralled the boys inside, and set to work.

Then I came inside and saw it. The broken chocolate layer. Large chunks lay on the stove, though I could tell that a significant amount was missing. Jason's dining room table chair was pushed up to the stove. Crumbs lay scattered on the floor leaving a tell tale trail. And no children were in the kitchen.

And this is what I didn't handle well. I yelled. "Who ate the chocolate cake?!?!?!" Kids came running from all directions. Jason eyed me with a scared look in his eyes. I knew he had done it. Frustrated, I kneeled down, and continued yelling (bad Mommy!) "Jason, did you do this? Did you break up the cake?" Finally he nodded. My volume lowered a bit--but not enough. "Did you remember that Mommy said the cake was for TOMORROW?" He nodded. "And you got into anyway?" He whispered "yes."

At this point I got a bit of a hold on myself...my kid is more important than a cake. I gave him a hug, and told him that. I told him that obviously all those cakes on the counters with Mommy outside was just too much temptation for a 3 year old.

But I was still upset. I was going to have to bake another cake. Then I spyed the largest piece of the cake on the kitchen island next to the cake plate. I picked them both up and moved them to the stove. I attempted the hopeless task of putting the cake back together--maybe I could patch it up enough that it would still be passable. It wouldn't be the first time I'd iced a broken cake. But this cake was just too far gone.

It was probably a good 5 minutes after I'd attempted putting the cake together that something dawned on me. While there were significant voids in the cake--accounting for all the crumbs on the floor--there didn't appear to be any bite marks. And wasn't the largest piece of cake next to the cake plate?

Suddenly it dawned on me...Jason wasn't giving in to temptation, he was trying to help me! When I had gotten out the cake plate earlier he didn't understand what it was, so I explained it to him. He was just trying to move the cake onto the cake plate, but hadn't been able to reach! My guess was that he probably did pretty well gettting the layer off the stove (with the aid of his chair) and carrying it to the island, but when he tryed to reach up onto the island, it had broken--maybe even the large piece had broken off, leaving the smaller pieces in his hands. He probably then left the large piece on the island and took the smaller pieces back to the stove--leaving a trail of crumbs. Perhaps he would have gotten the large piece to return to the stove, except that I had come back into the house, and he had probably fled the kitchen when I did.

I went to Jason and asked him "Jason, were you trying to help Mommy with the cake?" "Yes" was his teary reply. "What were you doing to help Mommy?" "Cake on cake plate" he answered.

Of course I felt even smaller then for the way I had responded to seeing the mess in the kitchen...and the grass seed? That was probably a misguided attempt on Jason's part to "help" also.

I just need to remind myself...I was once a little girl who made misguided attempts to "help" as well....a half inch of water on my bedroom floor rings a bell. ;-)


Blogger candleman said...

HHHhhhmmm, things aren’t also as they appear to be. Glad you had the forethought to put two and 7 together;)

I wonder how many spankings are dished out over what originally seems to be outright disobedience and in reality is the mind of a three year old "trying to help Mommy".


10:41 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger TulipGirl said...

I think someone is looking for what you wrote, here:


10:32 PM, November 13, 2005  
Blogger TulipGirl said...

Hey! Your blog wasn't coming up earlier this week. Glad to see it here again. Hope life mellows out enough for you to post more, soon.

Btw, saw a DONA bumper sticker the other day. Tried to honk and wave at the driver. Thought of you. *grin*

3:34 PM, December 11, 2005  
Blogger Heather said...

Candleman98 basically said what I was thinking. Not to be judgemental or anything. But I do wonder how motive outweighs action in this situation?
So this is what GCM/GBD looks like.

1:10 PM, March 16, 2006  
Blogger Jenn said...

Heather, I'm not quite sure I understand your question? Do you think that my son should have been punished for his actions, regardless of his motives?

If that is the underlying thought pattern, I can explain that. Ideally I try not to "punish" my children (I'm not always good with this!). I "discipline" them...with my interpretation of "discipline" being "to teach."

In order to teach, one does need to know motives. My son was trying to help me. I needed to teach him that he wasn't quite capable yet of helping me in the way he wanted to. If he had been wanting to eat the cake, well then I would need to work on self control and patience.

7:22 PM, April 03, 2006  

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