After much complaining to my mother the previous night about frosting the background with much difficulty, Steph and I proceeded with the actual frosting the morning of the party. She started outlining the head while I outlined the feet. Two minutes later, Steph willingly scraped my best effort off the cake and did it the correct way. She assigned me the task of filling in Dora's hair with black frosting. Not surprisingly, I excelled at destroying that while Steph zipped along doing practically everything else. She left the yellow socks for me to do, which I actually did fairly well. And then she pointed out that Dora now had a nice yellow leg instead of a sock. Again with the scraping and the correctly doing. She finally entrusted Dora's red shorts to me, which I did a fine job of, until I noticed later that I frosted over most of the crotch, leaving Dora with a skort. But it still looked nice.
Stephanie told me she had forgotten to mix up Dora's skin-colored frosting, so she improvised with the brown mixed in with what white frosting was left over. Turns out there wasn't enough white left to really do the trick, but we decided it was close enough and she frosted Dora's skin; that is, when she could see the cake through her tears of laughter.
Apparently Stephanie, like my mother, loves to tell everyone just how much her beautiful creations suck. As Steph put it, mostly so people know that she knows it isn't perfect. Personally, I never have to worry about that as people stopped expecting perfection--or anything like unto it--from me long ago. Steph promised this time that she would refrain from making broad announcements at the party about the cake's flaws. Instead, we simply took turns throughout the party of accusing the other of decorating it. This method worked very well for us.
For the record, Stephanie is a very good cake artist. Here is a previous Dora cake she was able to decorate, obviously minus my "help":
After the party was over and the little hurricanes had departed, Stephanie called me, laughing, and told me she had just emailed me a photo of the cake we had made together. I took a look:
We laughed for two days. You'll note that my exertions with the hair didn't help the effect one bit. She called it the lazy-eyed African-American Dora ("Is she looking at you, or the guy next to you??"). And her funny husband appropriately renamed her Moesha the Explorer.
Considering I was involved, which is never a plus, I thought it turned out as well as could be expected. If Stephanie had not been there at all, the cake would have looked like an unfrosted yellow cake with a lot of frosting scraped off. I appreciate her assistance immensely. I'll appreciate it even more next year when I refuse to have anything to do with the darned thing.