How to be perfect
{What’s Working}

Cupcake cluster

A day in the life of a Reporter Mama balancing  deadlines and cupcakes.


I’ve looked forward to being able to bring a birthday treat for Sam at school since he was a baby.

Of course, that was before I realized kindergarten classrooms had 26, plus kids in them and that food allergies and other challenges were so common.

One of Sam’s best buddies has celiacs so I purposely bought gluten-free mini-cupcakes from my friend’s gluten-free bakery (everyone should have a friend with a bakery!)

The teacher and I exchanged a few, brief emails making sure it was okay to drop them off and hide them in the back.

Like Santa, Mr. Teacher said.

Well, more like a ninja.

Except, even ninjas get derailed.

We got to the office to check in because with new security procedures (thank you psychopaths of America) the days of just dropping off a box of cupcakes are long gone.

I was already in the computer system. Oh, but not the right one. Also the office staff was busy. (Been there, get it. But perhaps I could leave the box here, no? Okay, I’ll wait. And wait. And wait. No problem, just on deadline and still have to get Jake to preschool.)

So we get to the class, drop the cupcakes off – literally – twice, on the ground, they were a little disheveled but still cupcakes delivered, check.

As we left the classroom, Mr. Teacher was leading the adorable ducklings down the hall – what is that little girl doing? Oh, barfing. Cool. Also, gross. I got the nearest bucket for her to barf in and held her until she was done. Because I’m a mom, and maybe because that used to be my job and I kinda miss the little ones.

Um, a little help here? Jake looked on wide-eyed. A teacher assistant brought towels and helped get the little girl to the office.

In all of that I forgot to tell the teacher the cupcakes were gluten free.

When it came time to pass them around he erred on the side of caution.

Well, damn. That didn’t go as planned.

In our debrief, he suggested I employ a ninja trick he is fond of: sticky notes to communicate in case of derailment.

Ah, sticky notes! How quaint. And brilliant. Note to self: use them.

We really like Mr. Teacher. Also, I think it is ridiculous that the classroom has so many kids he’s one stuck zipper away from chaos.

Meanwhile … I dropped Jake off, opened my fermented chia drink and it exploded. Again. Only, not with a boom and tiny shards of glass this time but more like a 7th grade science experiment with a silent, never-ending fizzing fountain of slime. Red, chia seed slime coating me and my car.

So I took a bath in sanitizer changed quickly. And wiped up some of the aforementioned nastiness.

Then I found out there was an election story I wasn’t expecting that morning. Squeezed in a quick interview.

Then I filed two stories unrelated to that one.

Another interview, then wrote the candidate brief.

Then I found out I had another one breaking on my beat at the same time I had to go to a meeting.

Wrote that story during and right after the meeting

Got home much later than planned to put together DIY mini pizzas for the birthday boy (even though we had the big party yesterday I felt like I needed to do something fun for his actual day). Then he opened a couple of small gifts and we were off to bed with some very active ninjas.

Made a work call while they got a little of that out of their system. Fretted about the call even though I promised I wouldn’t.

Read a Froggy book and answered a bunch of random questions and then - Finally, I fell asleep snuggling my birthday boy, his giraffe, his book and a sword, natch.

Next year, I’m thinking tattoos or pencils or anything else non-food related.

You’re welcome, teachers and parents of kiddos with food challenges.