Growing Pains

As the boys get older, it seems like our relationship can go from this:

To this:

…In less than thirty seconds. One minute, I’m losing my mind over the utter lack of hygiene and the next minute we’re all bonding over our mutual loathing of animal movies. (But WHY would they kill Old Yeller????? WHY??????)

And while we process and adjust and try to make sense of what this new stage looks like, it was a bit of a relief today to return to something familiar: Utter Chaos While Baking.

Because I don’t care how old they are, baking with seven of my progeny is absolutely never going to be simple. Too many arms and legs involved, I think…

I called in back-up (high five, Aunt Abbi) and we went to work on the Snickerdoodles.


The beauty of having 14 arms at my disposal is that we had the snickerdoodles rolled and dipped in a matter of ten minutes. Which meant Abbi and I got a little too big for our britches and thought we’d add in some orange oatmeal raisin and/or chocolate chip cookies.


These took us a little longer, but were no less successful. Plus, it meant we were totally justified in having cookies, oranges, and a spoon full of peanut butter and calling it lunch.

imageEllen tasted the cookie dough and said with surprise, “Mmmmm. This tastes so good you almost don’t need to bake it!”

At which I turned to her and said, “My daughter… you are a woman now.”

Because that’s the secret to womanhood, right? Baking is just an excuse to lick the beaters. Always.



But there’s more to baking than the beaters, I think. There’s something about the notion of returning to the familiar… I’ve baked with these kids since they were all still pantless and needed buckets to see over the counter.



We don’t do it pretty, but we know how to DO baking. In the past few months, I’ve felt overwhelmed by the orthodontics, the wrangling over math tests, the every day grind that is our new normal… but baking with the kids means I can come back to something I Know.

We can re-orient, find our true north again, and start over.


Today we played Christmas music, I spilled flour all over the floor, and it wasn’t such a horrible way to be in each other’s company, feeling the familiar.

Maybe that’s how you do the growing. You can’t stretch out all at once, there’s an easing into it… you muscle forward and then you spring back a bit to familiar ground, inching along like the proverbial worm, taking two steps forward, one step back, and then two more steps forward…

I could wax metaphorical for days, but the truth is, Parenting means never quite being certain of the stage you’re in, so it’s nice to know that some things – like baking – are still the same. We lick the beaters, somebody plays in the sugar, and we all find a little comfort in the Known and a counter full of cookies.



What do you go back to when you’re feeling out of your depth? What activity is it that brings your family the comfort of the familiar? I’d love to know how you ease the growing pains…



His Powers Of Persuasion Part 2

...of yesterday’s post.


Finn’s quest to re-possess his pacifier continues.

When I got Finn up this morning, I pulled his paci from his face (he grinned big, greeting me with a sleepy, “Mornin’, Mama!”) and hid it in his box of clothes on his dresser.

An hour later, I was sitting on the couch and noticed he was sporting the same paci. “Ah-ah,” I waggled my finger at him. “Gimme that!”

He giggled and I plucked it from his mouth again and stuffed it beside me in the crevice of the couch, hoping I would remember to put it higher when I got up. Finn headed upstairs and I smelled his stench. I called him to come back to me so I could change his diaper.

This did not suit, but after a bit of resistance, he headed back my way. As he was butting himself up against the couch with that full body pout, as only a two year old can master, he managed to kick over my full water jug. I hopped up and ran into the kitchen to get a towel.

When I walked back to the couch, I saw Finn sprinting up the stairs, pink paci back in his mouth. He’d created his very own diversion in order to make a getaway with his favorite goods.

I had to CHASE HIM DOWN, y’all. Or chase him up, as it were. He was halfway up the flight of stairs before I caught him and set things to right.

There is very little stopping him from devoting himself to a life of crime at this point. Have mercy…

imagep.s. I know he didn’t kick the water over on purpose. Not this time, anyway… ;-)