Posted in Baking

Reason #9 Why Having a Preschooler Rocks

easy bake ovenThere’s something magical about the memories that are evoked through the sense of smell.

Nothing transports me back in time quicker than a scent tied to memory.

Yesterday, Katie and I used her new Easy Bake Oven for the first time and as I stood there in the kitchen with her, I was a little girl again.

It’s amazing how so many things change, but some things always remain the same.

The smell of the baking mix and frosting are exactly the way I remember them.

As I assumed my role as Katie’s helper, my mind travelled back to my childhood, with my mother by my side as I stirred, baked, frosted, and sprinkled.

Being a mother to a little girl is such a gift.

Katie brings such tremendous joy to my life, just as Matthew does, but she also allows me to relive some of the happiest moments of my own childhood.

And that is an amazing gift.

Are there any things that you do with your children that take you back in time?

There in the kitchen

When I was a child, my mother was always baking something fabulous.

Cupcakes, whoopie pies, cakes, brownies, and cookies.  I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have a baked good in the house.

I remember clinging to her side as she incorporated her ingredients, waiting so impatiently for her to finish with the mixer because I knew that when she was done, she would hand me the beaters, the mixing bowl, and the spatula. I savored every last drop of the batter. I think I may have enjoyed that part more than the finished product.

But now, when I bake with Katie, I can’t bring myself to let her have that same joy.

The thought of her getting sick from the raw eggs overpowers my desire for her to know the same joy I knew, there in the kitchen with my own mother. I almost wish that, like my mother then, I didn’t know about the dangers of eating raw eggs.

So, when we bake, Katie’s joy is different.  Her smiles come from lining up the cupcake liners, peeking in the oven as the cupcakes bake, and carefully decorating them once they’ve cooled.

There in my own kitchen, as I witness Katie’s happiness, I miss my mother so very much.  Those days in her kitchen are some of my happiest memories of us together.

Thank you, Mom. Thank you for always saving the beaters, bowl, and spatula for me. I love you.

Fear and Brownies

Fear is such a complex emotion. What may seem trivial and inconsequential for one person, can be positively horrifying and inexplicable for another.

If adult fears are difficult to rationalize, then childhood fears are seemingly impossible, as a child’s ability to distinguish between real and perceived threats is isn’t yet fully developed.

Katie is brave about so many things–she has no fear of monsters or darkness (yet)–but garbage trucks simply terrify her. The truck passes by our house no fewer than four times each Monday, beginning around 9 o’clock and wrapping up around noon. Over time, she has become increasingly concerned about the truck’s whereabouts. It has now reached a point where she trembles as it approaches and begins to tear up, begging to be held.

We’ve tried rationalizing with her, offering up the following standard, predictable reassurances:
The garbage truck won’t hurt you.
The garbage truck can’t fit in our house–you’re safe in here.
The gentleman who drives the truck is going home now to see his kids.
Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t let anything bad happen to you.

None of these have worked.

BabyCenter has a helpful article on preschoolers and fear, with tips including acknowledging your child’s fear, working with her to problem solve, and using pretend play to work through the fear.  We’ve tried several of their suggestions, with little success.  Today we employed the article’s suggestion to “explain, expose, and explore.”

Since we’ve done about as much explaining as I think we can do, we moved right into exposing and exploring.

I wondered if we put a face to the driver and she could speak to him for a few moments, if she might be less afraid. So yesterday we got serious and made him some brownies. She was so excited that it was nearly all she talked about all day.  She stirred and chatted with me about how much he was going to love her “yummy brownies.”

This morning was spent listening and waiting, pacing and anticipating.  We heard the truck rumbling down the street and Katie was equal parts excited and petrified.  She waited, in my arms, as he approached, brownies in hand and the sweetest, most timid smile I’ve ever seen.  We waved him to a stop, they exchanged names, and we gave him her brownies.  As he drove away, she was smiling and appeared less afraid, but I don’t think she is over her fear by any means.

Does anyone have any tips or stories they’d be willing to share, just in case the brownie trick didn’t work?

Reason #37 Why Having a Preschooler Rocks

Need to bake a cake for a special occasion?  Cookies for your husband’s office?  Have your preschooler help.  If your treats come out inedible/disgusting, simply say, “Our little one just loves to bake.  Isn’t she cute?”

Katie and I baked a cake today for my uncle’s birthday and I am a hit or miss baker at best.  But, with Katie’s help, I had a built-in disclaimer and  I couldn’t lose.   She’s pretty handy like that.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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