Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When I Realized I Am No Fun

I had just measured the flour into each of two bowls for a double batch of banana bread.  I could already taste the warm bread coming out of the oven...the butter disappearing into the slice as soon as it touched the bread...the chocolate chips melting all gooey.  This was certainly the best naptime project one could have!

As I reached for the sugar jar, I heard faint talking coming through the baby monitor.  Noooo!  I just started baking!  I quickly measured the sugar out and then went to check on my girl.  She was awake.  Up for good.

I decided to be SuperMom and have her cook with me.  She LOVES to help, and she was so excited to help me "took" (cook).   

We got the step stool out and she climbed up the two steps.  We rolled up her sleeves, and she smiled as she peered into the bowls.  She was so excited!

"Feven, don't touch the bowls, okay?  We've gotta get out our next ingredient.  Be careful on that step stool.  Stay there, don't move."

I grabbed a teaspoon and baking powder from the cupboard.  She wanted to measure it out, but I knew it would be too messy, so I did it.  I passed the teaspoon her way, still holding it firmly myself.

"Okay Feven, can you dump it in?  Can you tip the spoon into the bowl?"

"Hold."  She said.  She wanted to dump it all by herself.  No way was I going to let go - she would certainly miss the bowl and baking powder would fall on the floor.

"No, mommy's going to hold it with you.  Can you tip it?  Good job!  Let's do it again!"

We proceeded to put in all the ingredients this way, me telling her to "Stay...don't touch the bowl...stay" in between each ingredient.

When it was time to mix in the chocolate chips, I fully relinquished the spoon.  To my dismay, she wasn't familiar with the resistance of the batter, and the spoon with batter went flying up to hit her head.  My dear, sweet, banana-bread-head child.  I took the spoon back and mixed it myself.

"Ick?" she asked.  She wanted to lick some of the dough off the spoon.  I had let her lick the beaters once after making cookie dough, but I knew that banana bread dough wouldn't taste as good.  "No, Feven," I said, "it's icky.  You won't like it."

Shortly thereafter I took notice of her eyes.  They didn't contain the same excitement they did when she ascended the steps of her step stool and first peered in the bowls.  They looked more like eyes that were waiting to be told "No."  And why should they look any different than that?  It's what I was teaching her with my words and actions.

This wasn't the fun mother-daughter cooking party I had imagined in my head.  My desire for things to be measured correctly and the kitchen to stay clean got in the way - majorly got in the way - of time to laugh and bond together.  I regretted every no.  This wasn't cooking together!  This was mommy being no fun at all! 

This is not the legacy I want to leave.  What is the point of delicious banana bread and a clean kitchen if it comes at the expense of the light in my daughter's eyes?

I want her and I to have fun together as we learn and grow.  And most days I feel that I'M the one who has such a long way to go as far as growth is concerned!  She is teaching me so much about myself.  Some things are hard to see and hard to change, but when I look at that dimpled smile, I know that a life depends on me changing and growing.  It's HER life that depends on it.  And I would do anything for her.

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