I have never been good with dirty, sticky things. I remember I once said that exact sentence to a friend and she said, “Well, good luck with kids.” At the time I think my reply was, “well, I just won’t LET my kids get dirty or sticky.” I must have been a know-it-all teenager when I said that. After four years of parenting I know that kids are dirty sticky magnets.

And yet. There is something inside me that freaks out when Annie gets sticky. I don’t know what it is. I just can’t stand it. And Annie is SO MESSY. She can’t just eat. She has to spread her food EVERYWHERE. Her hands, clothes, body, face, hair. A meal isn’t complete until it has been smeared on everything within arms length. I have to do deep breathing exercises with every meal.

I really wanted to make sugar cookies with Annie. BUT IT WOULD BE SO STICKY. It would be so fun! BUT SO STICKY. I had this internal debate about it for days. And, finally, I listened to the smaller voice. I made cookies for Annabel and me to decorate, stickiness be damned. WHO AM I?!

decorating cookies

I made about 20 sugar cookies and frosted them. Then I put a few different sprinkle toppings in small dishes. I put the cookies and toppings on Annie’s table and we got to work.

decorating cookies

She was a little hesitant at first. I had to show her exactly what to do, and then over-the-top encourage her that it was OK to pick up and drop sprinkles on cookies. At first she copied me exactly – she reached for the same sprinkle color and put it on the same cookie. But eventually she branched out, and it was so fun to watch.

decorating cookies

decorating cookies

Before long, we were both decorating our own cookies.

decorating cookies

decorating cookies

Rigby REALLY wanted to get in on the action. It’s too bad she doesn’t have the coordination.

Rigby wants in on the action

Rigby wants in on the action

These two pictures just freak me out:

decorating cookies

SAME FACE

SAME FACE!

Eventually…this started happening:

tasting

tasting

It was inevitable, right? I couldn’t make the cookies without eating the dough, so there was no way she was going to decorate without tasting the sugar.

sticky fingers

When I saw her sticky crystals-and-jimmies-covered-fingers, I did my best to ignore them. We were having fun! Stopping to wash our hands obsessively was only going to give one of us a complex (one of us OBVIOUSLY already has one).

the finished...cookies?

I have really never seen such beautiful cookies. OK that’s a lie, those are not cute.

decorating cookies

Other than the occasional sprinkle-taste, Annie showed NO interest in tasting the cookies until I asked her if she wanted one. And even then…she still went for the good stuff.

cookie decorating

When we were just about done, Annie looked at me and said, “Cookies fun, mama!” and in that moment, I forgot about the fact that she’d just rubbed sprinkles in her hair and knocked a bowl of jimmies onto the floor. We’d had fun. SHE’D had fun. That was what I wanted – that smile.

Decorating Cookies

Then I practically threw her into the bathtub.

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