Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kitchen Lessons

I took the car in to the dealership today to have it serviced.  The girls and I planned to head straight to the movie theater for the free summer movie they show every Tuesday and Wednesday.  Going to the movie in the middle of the day is so fun.  What was supposed to be a routine oil change and tire rotation turned into a two-hour wait to fix a recall on our vehicle.  Our first lesson in patience for the day.  And yes, we missed the movie.

I decided that I wanted to make a homemade pound cake for a dear friend of mine who recently did a huge favor for me.  I was out of few of the basic ingredients (well, all of them actually---since I bake so frequently during the school year--cough cough).  I called the girls down and we headed to the grocery store to pick up a few items.  As soon as they found out why I was going to the store the conversation went like this:

"Oh, Mommy, can I help with the cake?"
"Oh, me, too, Mommy!"
"Oh, hey, I have an idea!  Why don't we make different types of icings and flavors! I want to make some strawberry cake."
"I don't like strawberry!  I want mine plain."
"Mommy, can we make two cakes?--one for each of us!"


And so it goes......


My first thoughts were to say "no" and do the cake myself.  After all, it was my idea in the first place and I wanted to do this for my friend.  It was my plan.  As they girls kept chattering away (and my head continued spinning) we finished our shopping and arrived back home.  I was trying to think of a way to talk them out of wanting to bake because what would have been a half hour project would now turn into a much longer one.  I had flashes of all the super moms out there who talk about their wonderful cooking  moments in the kitchen with their children, how the perfect mother would JUMP at the chance to dirty up her kitchen.  She wouldn't give a second thought to the fact that she'd mopped the floor yesterday and that flour and sugar WOULD be spilled on the floor.   The wonderful sugar-filled memories would all outweigh the trouble---and to the perfect mother---the word 'trouble' would have never come out of her mouth.

I decided to give in and let them cook.  I knew that my own cake would not get finished today.  Pound cakes take a long time to cook and cool.  All the pans would be dirty, too.

The girls began the tasks with excitement.  I was trying, really I was.  I just wasn't being very successful.   I was put out and irritated that my own project had been interrupted.  As the girls began the very first task (washing their hands) an argument broke out over who was taking too long to rinse their hands.  I knew this was going to be more trouble than I wanted to deal with.  I intervened and began the discipline.  I felt my tension rising.  As the child in the wrong reached into the drawer to get a dish towel to dry her hands, I told her that she needed to admit her fault.  She did with a huff as she proceeded to throw the dish towel back into the drawer and close the door (or slam it in my opinion).    This has been an issue.....the drama.....the over-reacting----playing the total victim.  I had had it up to my eyeballs and told her she was finished in the kitchen.  She turned (surprisingly quiet---of course that meant tears were coming) and walked out of the kitchen.   God stopped me in my tracks.  My whole attitude was one of impatience and quick tempered reactions.  What a horrible example I had set.  How could I send her out of the kitchen when I was guilty, too?

She is always remorseful.  Always.  That is one thing about this child.  Her remorse is quick and true.
I apologized.  She apologized.   We started all over again.   All of us.   And this time, we had no issues.
Even when the sugar and flour spilled on the floor, we just smiled.   Even when the eggs dripped all over the counter, we just wiped it up.

The cake is in the oven.   The girls are playing.   The fragrance is filling the house.  I hope it smells as sweet to the Lord.

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