The Wild One circa 2011
I usually cook or bake something about once a day, and The Wild One always asks if he can help out. This always makes me happy – I hope he continues to enjoy it as he gets older, and it’s a good skill for any MAN to have…am I right ladies? Anyway, I must have a serious case of dementia, because this is usually the way that it turns out, and I seem to have forgotten by the next time. Here’s exactly what happened this afternoon. Please tell me I am not alone in having moments like this:
The Wild One (let’s just refer to him as T.W.O.): “Mom, can I help you make some muffins?”
PGM: “Sure Buddy!”
He climbs up on the counter with his favorite stuffed animal, “silky.” I just kind of scoot it out of the way, because I know he’ll melt down if I take it away. I get out the ingredients – milk, flour, honey, sugar, eggs, salt, etc. All the while he is saying “what are you doing?” “mom, what are you doing?” “what is that?” on repeat. I help him start measuring out the wet ingredients first. I usually pour it in a measuring cup myself and then hand it to him to dump in. We start with the milk. He dumps it as I am handing him the cup, so it gets all over both of our hands.
T.W.O.: “What did I do?” hysterical laughter.
Before I can clean up the milk everywhere, he is shaking his hands and milk is spattering on walls, couches, countertops, and clothes. I wipe it all off.
We continue on – eggs, honey, vanilla, butter. We get to the brown sugar, and I put it in a cup. I turn my back for one second, and see T.W.O. up to his ears in brown sugar. He’s pushing his fingers deep inside the cup and swirling them around, and then up to his mouth with dramatic sucks and “mmmmmmms.”
PGM: “Hey! Don’t do that. Wait til the end and then I will let you taste it okay? Just pour it in.”
He looks at me, ignores it and sticks his hands inside again. I’m about to spout off some sort of threat or time-out warning when he sees the look on my face, jerks his hands out, picks up the cup, lifts it above his head, and drops the entire thing into the bowl. This recipe had about 2 cups of milk in it and I hadn’t put in any dry ingredients so it was very runny. It rises like a geyser and explodes on every surface within a 2 block radius. There is milk on the couch, on me, on T.W.O., all over the counter, floor, and yes, even the beloved “silky.” I stay cool. (pretty proud of myself at this point). I take T.W.O. off the counter and over to the sink to wash him off. He starts jumping around begging for a soggy silky. I tell him to wait a few minutes until I can get it cleaned off. Enter theatrics. He starts wailing and sobbing that he wants silky. I turn around to rinse out the dishrag in the sink, and trip over Tornado, who has been quietly playing on the floor. I knock him to the ground and he starts bawling too. I just throw the rag in the sink and pick him up, making sure he’s not seriously injured (I mean, I’m pretty clumsy). He stops crying, but I notice he’s got a big fresh diaper just waiting to be changed, if you catch my drift. I ignore it while I finish wiping everything up. He starts whining that he is hungry so I plop him in the high chair, stinky diaper and all, and give him the leftovers from breakfast that are still on his tray. Meanwhile I wash off Silky and give them to T.W.O. who has calmed down. I decide it is peaceful enough for me to finish making the muffins, which I do. As I am reaching for the muffin tin out of the drawer, I find Tornado’s sippy cup from yesterday wedged deep inside between some pie tins. He had a mini meltdown yesterday while I scoured the house looking for it. Why I didn’t think to empty this drawer yesterday is beyond me. It is filled with milk and curdling. I throw it in the sink and stick the muffins in the oven. By this time Tornado has given himself a nice food massage and rubbed it all over his entire person, including his hair, and the rest of it he has thrown on the floor. I take him out and hose him off. I ignore the food for a second while I give hin his sippy cup. I start cleaning up a little bit when Tornado starts pouring his drink all over the floor and then slips in it and lands flat on his back just like in the cartoons. Bawling ensues. (Pep talk to myself: What is this, Amateur night? Get it together!!) I pick him up in one hand, wipe the floor with the other, then sweep up the rest of the food. I take him upstairs to change his diaper which is now making all wildlife outside pass out. I am elbow deep in poop when T.W.O. lets out a blood-curling scream and starts hysterically crying. I immediately think he has opened the oven and burned himself and I grab the baby and start running toward him. He can barely talk and finally lets out, “MOMMY, sob sob sob…( I am bracing myself for the worst – what?? Someone’s in the house??!! Are you hurt??!!) … there was an ANT on the wall!” An ant? Not a serial killer who had broken in, or a rabid animal on the loose, or a knife stuck in a limb, but an ant. Okay.
Two seconds later, the timer goes off and the muffins are done. And they are not burned. And everyone is alive. That’s success in my book. Cooking with kids. Doesn’t get much better than that.