I started baking with my Big Helper when she was no more than 18 months old. At that point I kept everything super simple and just tried to prevent any disastrous messes. Most of her involvement was of the hand-over-hand variety - I measured or prepped, and together we dumped ingredients into bowls.
Fast forward that about six years, and now she's preparing things completely on her own.
We've been studying fractions lately, and that has enabled her to prepare things all by herself. Still, though, when faced with a birthday cake - albeit a very simple one - I expected the kids to hop around and cheer with excitement over sprinkles, sprinkles, and even more sprinkles.
But they didn't.
Oh, they hopped, and their eyes lit up, and then they both decided that they wanted to pipe on the words, "Happy Birthday, Daddy."
So together we mixed up the icing, we spread some on the cake, and then we got our faux-piping bag ready.
Much to my surprise, my Big Helper calmly took the bag and proceeded to write her pre-planned message on the cake. Neatly. With no practice or advanced planning.
What happened to my LITTLE girl?
After writing her entire message, she was concerned about wasting the remaining icing, so as I replied that she could decorate with it, I thought to myself, Here we go. She's going to put as much of that icing on the cake as she can. Icing being one of her very favorite things, of course.
But she didn't.
She framed the cake with squiggly lines, drew two balloons, and put down the piping bag.
It was beautifully neat.
It was perfectly recognizable, even to my husband, and I don't think the same could be said of her first piping attempt.
So I learned a few things from yesterday's birthday cake making session:
- Somebody's growing up. Rapidly. I suppose that this is the way that it works, but I'm not sure I like it.
- I might soon be out of a cake-decorating job. This could be a really good thing - have you ever seen my cakes?
- My Big Helper is one neat kid - but then, I already knew that.
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