Miss Inez Baker would never have allowed it. The purpose of school is education, she would have explained. Birthday parties are not a function of education. The realm of education does not encircle frosted cupcakes. Amen!
I do wish the former principal of Eastridge Elementary School could have been in command this week. Three preschoolers were celebrating their birthdays. Three days parents sent hyper-iced cupcakes. Three days we dealt with stickiness and post-pastry crabbiness.
A cupcake is a nice thing to share for a birthday. At your home. Or your neighborhood park. Or roller rink. Your swim pool is good. Kids can jump in and wash off.
At school kids can't jump in and wash off. There are no fire hoses to spray down the classroom after two dozen preschoolers have sensory cupcake experiences. Cupcakes are the birthday equivalent of Dr. Seuss's Oobleck.
Let me enumerate the ways that preschoolers consume frosted cupcakes at school although they surely eat like little ladies and gentlemen at home:
- The Face Plant is a technique for smashing one's face full-contact down into the frosting until hitting the cake layer. Danger of suffocation noted.
- The I Want To Go Play Now method requires stuffing the entire cupcake into one's mouth. It usually leads to a prolonged period of sitting in one's chair until chewing and swallowing are completed.
- Paper And All is for bold, yet undiscriminating eaters. Like my grandma who ate the tails of shrimp at Norfolk's Broasted Chicken restaurant, eaters are not deterred by a bit of roughage.
- You Got Chocolate, But I Got Vanilla--nothing gets past these observant preschoolers. They also notice that you got a Disney Ariel Mermaid ring in your frosting, but they got Mulan. There is a circle in hell reserved for parents who send a mixed batch of decorated cupcakes to school. Just ask Disney Dante. The darn rings must be exhumed from the frosting, washed, and dried, then distributed. Nobody wants the princess they were dealt in the luck of the draw.
- Total Paralysis occurs in children who are terrified of getting something on their fingers. They cannot remove the paper muffin cup from the cupcake. They cannot pick up the cupcake. They cannot pass Go or collect $200.
- Circuitous Nibbling is for children who can remove the muffin cup, but want to eat the cake part in a revolving manner while getting the frosting stuck on their nose. This method reaches an inevitable infrastructure cave-in. Preferred by future geologists.
- The Smear Campaign is a share-the-wealth policy of some students who manage to spread their frosting largesse onto an amazing number of classmates and teachers. They will be the glad-handing politicians of the future.
Should your preschool child have an approaching birthday, please invest in a mini-muffin pan or a shaped cookie cutter. The teachers will love you!
Good birthday classroom snacks:
- Mini blueberry, cranberry, or banana muffins
- Cheese cut in shapes, with pretzels and an apple slice
- Oatmeal raisin or ginger snap cookies
- Two graham crackers with frosting in between
- Fresh fruit kabobs
- Apple juice with fresh-popped popcorn
- Unsalted blue corn chips and slices of bell pepper
- Toasted English muffin quarters spread with peanut butter or honey
- Very small servings of fresh fruit smoothie
- Trail mix with seeds, pretzels, raisins, and about 2 M&Ms per child
- Something you grew in your home garden
© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder