Saturday, December 17, 2005

If I'm Hoarse From Yelling It Must Be Christmas Baking Day.

There was a time, in college, when my mom and I had ourselves goin' on the "Witty One should be a teacher, yeah, it's 'portable,' and a good fallback-type professional qualification for a woman to have" trip. You'da thought we were living back with Laura Ingalls Wilder. Bonnets and all. Well, thank God, I woke up before I took a single education course and majored in politics, because I'm not cut out for this hands-on with kids thing.

I'm telling you, after today we just may have to rename the blog "Drooling Freak Lady Driven Crazy by her Shorties and the Irreverent One" or maybe just "Sucky Mom and the Irreverent One." Because today, TODAY we made sugar cookies. And decorated them.

(Did I mention I have two sons, ages five and three?)
(Did I mention that I have recurring delusions of being Mary Poppins?)
(When I'm really just Sucky Mom and I should go back to my blog instead of trying to BAKE FROM SCRATCH while ALONE with my Very Young Sons?)

So now I'm wondering if I wouldn't have had a better day if I'd just repeatedly poked myself in the eye all day instead. Well, yeah, probably. Or it would have been the same but my kitchen wouldn't so resemble an area that's seen a raucous Keebler Elves party.

It went something like this. "Boys, guess what? Today we're going to make Christmas cookies!" Excited boys cheer and commence running a lot, occasionally injuring selves and each other, while I place the ingredients on the Splat Mat (best purchase I ever made.) This is followed by the who gets to push the mixer button crisis (during which Son the Younger finds the turbo button accidentally and sprays us all with powdered sugar), followed by the "NO DON'T LICK THE RAW EGG OOZE LEFT IN THE SHELL!!!" crisis, followed by the this is MY measuring cup and he can't have it crisis. Five minutes have now elapsed and I am thinking this was a bad idea, but we don't even have cookie dough. (Must I even mention that the easy-peasy refrigerated stuff isn't even an option, living as I do in Korea?) I soldier on.

Fortunately once we have dough, it has to cool for an hour or so. Peace reigns as the boys watch "Frosty the Snowman" and "Santa Clause is Comin' to Town." Then all aitch-e-double-hockeysticks lets loose 'cause it's time to roll the dough and they BOTH want to roll the dough and the rolling pin is Son the Younger's favorite toy in the world beside Thomas the Tank Engine. The problem is compounded by the fact that the dough is too cold/hard to roll by mere boys' hands yet, and that flour is needed so it will roll and not just stick to everything. Reality is very hard to process in the face of such enthusiasm.

Oh, and have I mentioned that I am an incurable perfectionist? The kind who, even as she knows in her head that this should be a crazy, messy, fun process to be enjoyed feels her teeth grinding, her gut twisting into angry snarls and needs a paper bag so she won't scream at the thought of the totally ruined cookies that will come out of this project? Okay.

So let's just admit that by the time one set of cutouts have been placed on a baking sheet into the oven the boys are drifting away from the table toward their toys, and I'm guessing it has something to do with the inordinate amount of clenched-teeth frustration and bitey commentary that is coming from their mother. And, secretly, because I'm Sucky Mom, I'm not terribly unhappy about being left to do the rest of the cutouts myself. 'Cause then the angels don't have their necks all cricked, and the snowflakes don't look like they've been through an industrial accident.

I will say that for the decoration process I was pretty cool and indulgent. I let them make a decent mess and half of the decorations/frosting went in their mouths, on their face, or on the floor. (Bath night!) But I have to give half of that credit to the Splat Mat, because I think I would have had an underlying edge if I had to watch excess frosting and sprinkles and sugar directly encrusting my table.

Because I'm a control freak, I then insisted that they wait until after dinner to eat their creations, but then I did let them each have two. TWO. "Only after you eat a good dinner," I said in my Sucky Mom voice. Can you believe God let me have children? If I was cast in Willy Wonka I'd be the dentist dad who throws out all the Halloween candy.

Please don't sing the Psycho shower-scene theme yet; my husband generally has the whole indulgent let 'em roll in it scene, not me, and he's been out of town for nine days now. He's all Yang to my Yin, yadig? I guess I'm allowed to be a little keyed up, but I hope I didn't just spend the day imbuing my boys with a deep-seated avoidance for holiday cookie-making. (The year is 2027. In a therapist's office, a handsome young man says, "For some reason, doc, every time I see The Exorcist, I want to make Christmas cookies...")

Sigh. I will now wretchedly crawl into bed alone. Sucky Mom. (Hubby usually reassures me on this point.) Lucky me, I get the whole bed to myself, but the shine has worn off. Hubby comes back tomorrow at 5 pm, but then there's jetlag. But then we get a week in Hong Kong. I think I'll deserve some good shopping. Next year I'm baking cookies when they're asleep. Sucky Mom.


Blogger The Irreverent One said...

Okay so I totally hate when people give "helpful" suggewstions about a touchy subject, but you're gettin' one anyway. You make the dough after the Boys' bedtime, put it in plastic wrap, or covered bowl (they DO have bowls and towels in Korea, yes?! :) )and then all that the boys have to be involved in is the cookie cutting and frosting. Also, If I know your Older son, he'll start showing the propensity for needing to have perfect angel-necks and snowflakes. Oh, and you may want to go ahead and accept that it will never matter to your younger son that his snowflakes look more like Freddy Krueger's face than amazing crystals of ice.

12/17/2005 9:15 AM  
Blogger soulless said...

That's funny. I feel a little bad for being so amused at your frustration, but not bad enough to not laugh! Making cookies (almost always the chocolate chip kind) with kids in my family was a well choreographed enterprise. In my home I was the only kid, so I got to do everything but the butter, but in other households, mommy measured out all the ingredients and put them on the counter and each child knew exactly which ones they got to add to the mixing bowl, and mommy ran all the machinery. My mother once went to babysit a couple of my cousins and she decided to make cookies and the little 5 and 3 year old girls were quite competent to walk her through the process. I was about 14 at the time so I missed out on how cute this was. Just do it 20 or so more times and the arguing will subside, or somebody will lose a finger and not want to participate anymore--peace will come either way!

12/20/2005 1:32 PM  
Blogger Freckledpotter said...

I think that maybe you and I were cut from the same cloth somewhere up there before they sent us down here to earth. I am the same way, so much so that I just buy the premade kind now. I did that whole thing once, and only once to find that I too went to bed feeling "Sucky Mom". We are even so alike that I too first thought I would be a early childhood education major, before someone up there knew that if I succeeded in following that path, some unfortunate child would die a horrible death at the hands of a crazy lady.

1/01/2006 10:31 PM  

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