It’s a well-known fact that teachers love Friday. It’s not just because Friday salutes Saturday. No, it’s because Friday is Treat Day in the staffroom.
At the end of each week we gorge on snacks; we eat our feelings; we squirrel away together at morning recess and we stuff our ever-loving faces like bears preparing for hibernation. It ain’t pretty, but it happens.
That well-spoken teacher you met at parent-teacher interviews checks her manners at the staffroom door and fights bleached-tooth and Jamberry-nail for a piece of banana bread. Veteran teachers know if we wait until our last student has her snowsuit on properly before heading to the staffroom, we risk only having leftover crumbs to peck at like sad, hungry birds.
While Treat Day sounds like anarchy, I assure you, just like everything else in primary school, it is a tightly organized regime. Every teacher must sign up to bring treats at least twice throughout the year or risk being shunned by the herd. And God help your gentle soul if it’s your week to bring treats and you accidentally forget…
Everyone develops a sort of reputation when it comes to Treat Day. You know when “Mrs. A” and her friends are on treats you’re in for a feast complete with gingham tablecloths and freshly picked wildflowers. Everything’s homemade and there are complimentary breath mints for you as you head back to class.
And…when “Mrs. B” is on treats you know you’re having chips and Timbits.
I recently discovered I have a reputation as “napkin girl”. It’s as glamourous as it sounds. Everyone knows if they’re on treats with me, I’m bringing napkins. It was Thursday after school when it hit me like a taser. Oh my God I’m on treats tomorrow! I need to go find my treat team and tell them I’m bringing napkins!
By the time I found them and explained how good I am at bringing napkins and how it’s kind of my “thing”, they informed me napkins had been taken care of and the only thing left was baked goods.
As in I had to bake something.
Baking…I love baking. I’m actually probably related to Betty Crocker because everything I touch turns to brown sugar and butter and tastes like David Beckam in boxers. I’m serious. It’s a freakish gift I have. I can bake you under the table. There’s just one problem…
I have toddlers.
Yes, that’s toddlerS—plural. Have you ever tried to bake with toddlers? It’s a special kind of torture deserving of its own Pinterest board. I decided to keep it simple due to the extenuating circumstances, so I went with Chocolate Chip Cookies.
As the toddlers busied themselves eating crayons and crying, I gathered the ingredients and supplies. I was no further than the measuring cups when they both noticed I was doing something “fun” and HAD TO BE INVOLVED.
They came at me like walkers frothing at the mouth mumbling incoherent nonsense. I immediately gave in as I was outnumbered (I’m ALWAYS outnumbered!) and they ate me alive. Toddler One went to work mixing the wet ingredients while Toddler Two blew kisses at the dry ingredients.
Toddler One handed me the bowl of eggs, sugar and butter and said, “Mommy, I done.”
When I looked in the bowl, the eggs were still whole, the butter was in a block and the sugar was dry.
“You are NOT done,” I said. “Mommy’s on treats tomorrow and God help me if I show up empty handed!”
“Mommy bring napkins,” Toddler One said innocently.
“Not this time…”I seethed.
Just then, Toddler Two brought me a “present”. Toddler Two is in that adorable phase where he plucks lint out of rugs and carpet with laser-like precision yet he can’t manage a spoonful of food without Picasso-ing it all over his face. (I’m sure there’s a chapter on this EXCITING phase in What to Expect When You’re Expecting.)
As Toddler Two insisted his lint was part of the dry ingredients, Toddler One sneezed the most meaningful sneeze all over the wet ingredients. Panic set in as I plucked the lint from one bowl and wiped the sneeze germs from the other.
“BOYS!!!! Mommy needs to prove she can bake something and you are NOT ruining this for me! NOT NOW! NOT TODAY! Do you hear me?!”
Both toddlers burst in to tears from my scolding as mom-shame set in. We took a short intermission for me to earn back their love.
Somewhere between snot, lint and tears I managed to get the cookies in the oven.
“You’re not actually going to bring those to school, are you?” Husband asked.
“It’s either Snotlate Lint Cookies or nothing,” I said.
“Maybe next time you should just bring something simple…like napkins,” he suggested.
What a good idea. Why didn’t I think of that? Maybe next time I’ll just bring napkins.