by Carole Bellacera
Have you noticed that kids are more apt to misbehave when parents are occupied with something else?  We had guests over one night, and Leah, age 3, was playing in her bedroom with her little friend, Juanita.  The two girls had been born a week apart; in fact, I’d met Juanita’s mother in childbirth class. 
Earlier that day, I’d baked and decorated a Cookie Monster cake for Leah’s birthday, and invited Juanita’s parents over to celebrate both girls’ birthdays with us.  So, there we were—me, Frank, Ann and Rich, playing cards.  I got up to go into the kitchen to get fresh drinks.  As I opened the fridge door, I happened to glance at the cake on the counter.  And my heart dropped.
Poor Cookie Monster had been stripped clean of his blue icing.  Well, almost clean.  Several tiny little fingers had raked tunnels through what was left of stringy blue fur. 
“Ann,” I called out.  “Could you come in here a minute?”
She stepped into the kitchen, her gaze questioning.  I pointed to the cake.  She looked at it and then at me, eyes wide with shock.
Speechless, we just stared at each other.  And then I began to laugh.  She joined in, and pretty soon, we were holding onto each other, laughing so hard, we could barely stand up.  The men, hearing the commotion, came into the kitchen, and stared at us.  I pointed at the dilapidated cake.  They cracked up, too. 
“Let’s go find those little rascals,” I said, motioning for Ann to follow me up the stairs.  From her room, I could hear Leah and Juanita giggling and chatting, as three-year-olds do, with absolutely no connection to what each other was saying. 
I stepped into the threshold, and two little blue faces looked up at me.  It was everywhere—blue icing in their hair, on their cheeks, around their mouths, on their blue-tinged little hands.  Two sets of guilty brown eyes stared warily at us.  And we were off again—shrieking with laughter.
And the girls, realizing they weren’t in trouble after all, grinned at us. 
“Mommy,” Leah piped up.  “Can we have cake now?”
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Cindy Brookshire, Write by the Rails guru and a wonderful writer who works in all sorts of genres  wrote this recently: We all have a cake story. Lianne Best wrote about her chocolate pound cake gone lopsided in a “Mom on the Run” column.  Now there’s a “Bake Off” challenge on the Write by the Rails website to see how many cake stories we can raise.

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