On cookie baking, chaos and children

Growing up, cookie baking for the holidays was a big, family event. Mom would put it on the calendar and we’d all gather around the kitchen table rolling, cutting, dusting… whatever needed done. We usually started in November and froze the cookie which were then pulled out and thawed in time to be shared with friends and family. We always made Bethlehem Star Cookies, Sour Cream roll out cookies and Thumbprints.

My first Christmas in my own home was far different than I had anticipated and so I baked. Almost 12 dozen cookies. I wasn’t really good at making decisions that year. Over the years, my cookie baking has decreased and one year I even used store bought cookie dough (gasp!). Last year, the cookies I baked were thanks to a cookie exchange with my MOPS table. If not for that exchange, I doubt I would have even tried.

This year, my children are both interested not only in the baking process, but the eating of the cookies. In fact, Sylvi who applies a less-is-more attitude to speaking has been fairly vocal about her love of “kee-kees”. Liam, having a few years experience, is more than happy to help me usher in all the baked goods. In theory, this is the makings of an idyllic Sunday afternoon spent baking with adorable children, holiday music in the background and plenty of photographs to look back on and smile. Note that I said “in theory”.

Perhaps it’s just my kids. Perhaps it’s their age. Perhaps my enormous kitchen isn’t really all that helpful when it comes to holiday baking with the under 4 set. I’m not sure. But the first cookie baking attempt with both children as helpers ended with all three of us in tears and a dozen organic eggs smashed on the floor. Upon scrubbing the floor, I decided we needed a new plan and got to business.

So far, I’ve baked 5 different kinds of cookies. And aside from that first experience, they’ve all been peaceful.  I used one afternoon to whip up several cookie doughs, packed them in tupperware and labeled them with a post-it. Then, I hung all the recipes on the side of the fridge and waited until we needed an activity. This way, the kids are helping me put the cookies on the sheets, but no one is fighting over who gets to do what. It’s also worked out that I’ve baked each batch with the kids separately. And what a blessing that is! It’s been a mini date with Mama every time we bake… Sylvi hasn’t gotten the same amount of one-on-one during the day (believe me though, all those loooong nights she got plenty of mama time, I just like to hang out with her when I’m not struggling to stay awake.) so I was grateful for the time with just her.

Sylvi and her mini-me mixer helping bake

Liam isn’t as into baking this year as he has been in the past… he just wants to eat. But it’s all new to Sylvi, so she’s been my helper far more often than Liam. We have one more batch of cookies to make for the neighbors and our mailman and then I think our sugar fest will take a break. At least until Valentine’s Day anyway.

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