Cookie Cutter Guilt

Let me just start by admitting: I try to impress 4-year olds.

A couple of weeks ago we hosted one of those kids who makes preschool look like graduate school. She’s well-behaved and articulate — a great little role model for my, um, independent three-year old.

So of course I decided that on our first playdate we’d all bake cookies. That always gets ‘em.

Now, I wasn’t about to send the girls to school with cookies in their pockets. Apart from trying to impress small children, I’m afraid the teachers already think I’m a little lax in the ol’ parental discipline. So I promise our new friend that I’ll keep her cookies absolutely safe and deliver them to a parent at pick-up time.

Except. I don’t.

Oh, I delivered them, for sure. (You thought I’d eaten the kid’s cookies, right? Nah. I’ve sworn off pink food.)

But between one thing and another — a mad rush back to the house for a forgotten show-and-tell item, a baby who’s suddenly kickingly crazed about not being in the baby carrier, a need to quickly dodge a fleet of UPS trucks careening down the street — the cookies are broken. And crumbly. And a bit pathetic, actually.

The worst was the aplomb with which our new friend took everything. What goldarn four-year old girl has goldarn aplomb, for gol’s sake? She was plainly disappointed, but nonetheless accepted the baggie of ruined former-cookies without a word.

This all happened weeks ago, understand, but I’m still haunted by it.  Our first playdate and this kid’s really impressed. Later that very same day, I’ve fallen off my pedestal to join the ranks of “just another flawed grownup.”

I suppose that trajectory — initially impressive, eventually kind of average — shouldn’t surprise me too much — it’s mostly how adults perceive me, too.