Kembe and India (the twins) turned 4 earlier this week.
It was very anticlimactic. Their preschool schedule their special moment at school a couple days before the real day. They get to wear a crown and the parent supplies a special snack . . . but we are discouraged from bringing sweets or cupcakes. However, a lot of parents don't follow the rules, and my kids came home moping several days last year because "so-and-so" got CUPCAKES for their birthday snack, and I sent string cheese and carrots.
As a mom, it leaves you in a weird predicament. Do you send healthy stuff to be respectful of the teacher's requests? Or do you make cupcakes because it makes your kid feel special?
I attempted to walk the line this year. I had the bright idea that I would make healthy muffins (to ressemble cupcakes) and then "frost" them with a mixture of cream cheese and stevia. I topped them with rainbow sprinkles. I felt very please with myself for beating the system - they looked like cupcakes only the were healthy! WIN-WIN!
Except . . . they were DISGUSTING. I mean, truly. Not right. Not right at all. The multi-colored sprinkles on top only furthered the betrayal of brain to mouth.
I wondered how the preschool classes would take to the bait and switch. Would I arrive for pickup to find an unruly mob of four-year-olds ready to take me to tasks for the fake cupcakes?
But really, afterschool was only marked by one bit of drama: Kembe's anger at me over having missed his birthday celebration. Seems I'd forgotten to explain that here in the states, there might be several, and that the big one would be with our family. So when a group of adults and other children sang happy birthday to him at preschool, he thought that was it, and that we had not been there. He was pretty sad about that.
Fortunately, the cupcakes did not result in any vomit-related drama. That I know of.
So, when we got home, we had an impromptu party in the backyard, because Karis, Jafta and a couple of his friends who were over had not sampled the cupcakes. They saw the leftover goodies in my cupcake carrier and begged. We all sat around the table, sang happy birthday to the kids (while explaining that there was still an ACTUAL PARTY that would be happening on their ACTUAL BIRTHDAY, where daddy and more friends would be present).
And the funny thing is, the kids devoured those muffins covered in slimey, fake-sugar frosting. One of the boys even declared them to be the Best Cupcakes Ever.
But today, there will be real cupcakes.
And hopefully, a fun party where they both feel honoroed for the amazing little four-year-olds that they are.