Yesterday was Tia's birthday. Before I continue with my story of cookie theft, perhaps I should introduce you to her.
This is Tia:
But that's not her real name. It's the one that was given to her by some of her gymnasts when she and her husband came to the US from China about 10 years ago, because her Chinese name was too difficult to pronounce. We love Tia. She spends more time with our oldest daughter than we do. Maybe that's an exaggeration but suffice it to say that she sees her a lot.
Tia and her husband, Chen, have invested much in Alyssa. They care for her and are committed to helping her reach her potential. They love my daughter which is exactly what any parent wants, right? They are patient when she is less than focused or slow to make corrections plus they have super impressive resumes which include being former Chinese National Team members. Tia was on her way to the Olympics before an injury ended her career.
Tia's limited english does not prevent her from being a gymnastics coach extraordinaire.
Chen is currently in China tending to a very ill father which gave us even more reason to want to make Tia's birthday special. I made some cute cupcakes to take to the gym for a mini party. And because I'm always sensitive to Alyssa's gluten-free diet, I also made a batch of scotcheroos.
Caleb came home first and was greeted by sugary scents wafting through the house. He immediately began drooling over the frosting bowl offering, "If you're done with that, I'd be happy to eat the rest of the frosting for you."
I took pity on him and let him finish the cupcake I had sampled, then I loaded a plate with frosted graham crackers. (I'm sure if left to his own devices, Caleb would forego the cracker for a giant spoon but it somehow seemed slightly less disgusting to put the spoonfuls of frosting on a graham cracker first.) He ate several frosting sandwiches while he hovered over the sink, letting the thin, not-yet-set pink frosting slop through his fingers.
Then he spotted the pan of scotcheroos. "What? scotcheroos, too? mmmmm"
Again, I took pity on the salivating teen and let him indulge. I then cut up half of the 9x13 pan and transferred them to a Tupperware for the transport to the gym. I turned to Caleb and said, "I do not want to come home to find this pan empty. Do you understand? You may have one or two more but I don't want you eating this whole pan."
"You mean I have to share?"
"That's exactly what I mean. And besides, it's the only of these treats that Alyssa can eat."
Well it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened next. That's right, I came home to a pan holding nothing but a few milk chocolate crumbs.
"Ca-leb! I specifically told you not to eat this whole pan!"
"I didn't. I only ate like, four. Dad ate them."
Of course, Jon wasn't home to defend himself so though I was feeling quite perturbed, and knowing Jon likes his scotcheroos as much as the rest of us, I decided I'd wait to verify Caleb's story before making it more of an argument.
The kids were in bed before I got a chance to ask Jon for his version. He was adamant that he only got one--the last one. So that made Caleb a cookie thief and a liar! I started thinking about what his punishment should be.
I took it up with Caleb first thing this morning. He again declared his innocence, insisting he didn't eat more than four and was just as perplexed as to who the real thief could be. I was moments away from imposing a sentence when I suddenly remembered seeing the girls near the pan amidst the home-from-school, off-to-the-gym rush. Then the image of Natalie holding her gym snack in a ziploc bag flashed through my mind. There had been a scotcheroo inside. Could it be the girls were just as guilty? Well, not just as guilty but at least somewhat as guilty?
I'm quite positive that Caleb's "four" servings were cut significantly larger than a typical serving, but in the end, I didn't have enough evidence to convict him. I've decided on an acquittal, though I doubt I'll ever leave him home alone with the scotcheroos again.