Sometime over the summer it occurred to me that teaching my children to toast their own Pop Tarts would buy me an extra 30 minutes or so of sleep on the weekends. I immediately conducted a lesson on the quietest way to drag a chair across the room, the safest way to stand on said chair and the best way to fashion a mitt from a paper napkin so as to not burn oneself on the napalm that is a hot Pop Tart when it first comes out of the toaster.
From there we quickly moved on to toasting other things -- bagels, waffles, bread -- and before I knew it I had a six-year-old who made himself two waffles one morning and a sloppy mess of a bowl of oatmeal brought nearly to boiling because he had "accidentally nuked it for a real long time, Mom."
All small set backs aside, teaching my boys to use the toaster has been, until today, a super big win. They're learning self-reliance, I'm getting a titch more sleep and we're keeping the makers of all toaster pastries from needing a government bailout.
This morning, however, all was not frosting with sprinkles.
I was three rooms away drying my hair when I heard an all too familiar wail. I entered the kitchen to see Will standing on a chair in front of the toaster crying. What he said was this:
"BLAHBAWAAABAAAWAAAAAAHHHHHHH....AND NICK SAYS I HAVETA EAT IT!!!"
I soothed his tears and shooed his older brother away and finally got this translation:
"I accidentally made a chocolate Pop Tart but I don't want a chocolate Pop Tart I want a strawberry Pop Tart but Nick says too bad I have to eat it cuz I cooked it already and he hurt my feeeeelingssss!!!"
Dear God. It was 6:30 in the freakin' morning and I just canNOT handle tears over Pop Tarts at 6:30 in the morning. I told the small boy I'd eat the chocolate Pop Tart and helped him to find a packet of the strawberry kind instead. I left the room to finish drying my hair.
Again -- three rooms away, OVER the sound of the hair dryer which was 5" away from my ear holes -- I heard sounds of not one but TWO children in absolute hysterics.
I entered the kitchen to find two small boys in tears and what sounds like
"BUT I ALREADY COOKED IT AND BLAAAHBAAAWAAAAAAAAAHHHH! NICK HURT MY FEEEELINNNNNGGGSSSS..."
"I'M JUST TRYING TO HELP CUZ HE WAS DOING IT BAD AND WE'RE GOING TO BE LATE AND HE'S SO MEAN TO MEEEEEE!"
Why, again, did I decide two was a good idea?
And then I saw smoke coming out of the toaster. Oh holy crap on toast I'm going to have to call the friggin' FIRE DEPARTMENT and BEFORE 7:00 IN THE MORNING.
I peered into the top of the toaster to find one very burnt strawberry Pop Tart. I forced the toaster to pop it up, then dumped it onto a waiting paper plate.
The gist of the story was that Nick saw Will trying to get the Pop Tart out of the toaster and for reasons known only to six-year-olds, thought he should "help" his brother by toasting it again for him. After cranking the "darkness dial" all the way up to "black as night."
I dried more tears, sent the older boy away AGAIN, and threw away the burnt pastry. I shooed Will off the chair and put a new strawberry Pop Tart into the toaster myself and stood there, waiting for it to cook. Needless to say I didn't have time to put on any make-up this morning. Sorry office people.
So lucky #3 pops up as I'm coaxing kids into jackets and reminding them not to forget backpacks and I'm only half paying attention as I grab the Tart with a self-made paper mitt. A corner breaks off and I chuckle.
OK bastard Pop Tart you WILL come out of that blasted toaster.
I try again. The SECOND corner comes off.
WHAT IN HOLY HELL -- IS MY FREAKIN' TOASTER MESSING WITH ME?!?
I peered inside the now reeking toaster. I saw that when I dropped lucky Pop Tart #3 in, it somehow became wedged BETWEEN the little fork-like thingies that normally pop up the item you are toasting. And then, when the Tart got all good and hot and gooey? The fork-like things got stuck inside the Tart, meaning the rest of the damn thing was really pretty stuck. And since I'd broken off the top corners and the toaster had been going for about 30 minutes at this point, it was roughly 687°F and there was absolutely no way in hell that I could get the blasted thing out and NOT burn my knuckles at the same time.
I gave Will a cold Pop Tart and shooed him out the door.
Sorry, kid. Better luck tomorrow!