Teaching the Spatula a Lesson


Betty Crocker is a liar. Baking with children looks all fun and cozy in the adverts, but let’s be honest- baking with kids is just like sledding with kids. Currier & Ives and Betty Crocker are both peddlers of illusion. Packing little kids into their snowsuits and going out into a frozen world is an exercise in futility. And gloves on wiggly, glommy little fingers? Just like baking with little kids. Shoot me now. So. Baking…

Two of the kids need to bring cookies to school tomorrow. So we get to it when they tumble in the door from the bus. They have the attention span of gnats. It’s all fun in concept, but the actual measuring and the actual following of directions? I lost them before the first batch went in the oven. Perhaps had I taken them on separately…

Instead, we had flour flying everywhere when Jeff didn’t realize the mixer was on when he plugged it in- on high, of course. We had Abby drop eggshells in the mixer. We had boil-over when the microwave somehow got pushed for 2 minutes instead of 20 seconds to melt some butter. Just like in the commercial, right? So help me, I’m going to do a cooking show where I film what an ACTUAL 30-minutes in a harried mom’s kitchen looks like…

Then… Then as I was taking the first sheet of hot snickerdoodles (I love that word) out of the oven, juggling two more hot sheet-pans, I set one down on the edge of the counter. Picture, in slow motion, if you will, the sheet doing a cartwheel off the counter, hot cookies flying everywhere, and the pan landing, corner first, on my bare foot…

Cookies were everywhere. My foot was insulted, but fine. There were cookies, crumbled and steaming, in the crock pot, in a bag of un-put-away groceries, on the floor, on my pants, under the refrigerator… And I yelled. Much like the butter boiling in the microwave, I overflowed in a sailor-worthy streak that would have made grandpa Jack proud. It felt good to just throw an old fashioned temper tantrum. I threw the spatula across the kitchen, and it slid into the bathroom. There was giggling behind me.

I spun around, probably looking quite wild-eyed, and all three kids were standing in the doorway of the kitchen. They were trying not to laugh. Their eyes were mirthful and their shoulders were shaking, and were so enjoying my tantrum, and I was SO busted. Jeffrey quips, trying to hold in his giggles, “Boy, you really showed that spatula!” and the dam broke on the guffaws…

We stood in the kitchen laughing until our eyes were teary and our cheeks were red. Sometimes, when things totally go to crap, you end up with an awesome family memory anyway.

6 thoughts on “Teaching the Spatula a Lesson

  1. Love this. Totally love this.

    And I also love that I’m not the only one who finds cooking with my children to be an exercise in futility. And me losing my temper. My sister (named Tracy, actually) has no kids and will happily sit down with all mine and make sugar cookies with them. And have fun. And make dang good cookies, too. I can’t do either…

  2. You perfectly described why I don’t do as much baking with my kiddos as I should. Thanks Tracy and a very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  3. Oh Alanna- totally not alone! This is a recurring theme in my life raising children. Ten times the work, half the payoff- at least if the payoff is life looking like a postcard. I hold on to the hope that the kids’ memories are good anyway, and it makes me look again at the lovely childhood memories I have, and makes me wonder at how harried and stressed my mom must have been.

    • Omgosh. That reminds me of *our* favorite hilarious moment in the kitchen. On spaghetti night, my perfect, straight A attaining, can do no wrong 10 yo was helping herself to a heaping plate of Mom’s best spaghetti. At that moment, she spun halfway around to talk to her sister and her spaghetti slid silently and perfectly into the silverware drawer. We still tease her about this and her face still becomes as beet red at 28 as it did at 10.

  4. I have been reading your blog for a really long time. I love when you write about events like this. It makes me think, “This little family…they’re going to be OK.”

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