It was all because of the cupcakes.
Meg was riveted by them from the moment we arrived at the party. There seemed to be thousands of them to her small eyes, all green, and gorgeous, and brimming with sugary promise. She knew she would do anything to make one her own.
Never before was it so easy to feed her. Once she heard she would get a cupcake if she finished dinner she took it as a verbal contract, and ate as if going for a bonus. We could have made her eat liver wrapped in spinach dipped in Marmite and she would have gulped it down, knowing every bite was getting her one step closer to cupcake nirvana.
She didn't care about opening presents. The other kids oohed and ahhed over every thing that was opened, but Meg just sat next to our neighbor Erica, keeping up a steady patter about the cupcakes that sat just ten feet away. Erica tried to distract her, pointing out every new toy that piled up on the table in front of the oblivious one year old birthday boy, but Meg could not be distracted.
Finally, it was time for cake. She kneeled on one of the picnic benches, just inches from her goal. She listened and smiled as everyone sang "Happy Birthday." She put one hand on the table, and then brought the other hand up -- and missed.
She fell face first onto the concrete under the table.
Ryan and I sprinted the second we saw her start to fall. Eight feet has never felt farther. When we got to her she was a mess of tears and snot, but not obviously injured. We checked her teeth, and her head, and all of her appendages. Nothing broken, nothing bruised. Still, she couldn't stop crying. We both were sure there was something really wrong -- until she choked out a single word: "cupcake."
She was fine the second the frosting hit her lips. Her Dad even let her have half of his too.
I think if you asked her she would say it was totally worth it.