10 o’clock at night and my girl is upstairs blasting Time Lord Rock while baking Rose Tyler esc cupcakes for a dear friend and fellow Whovian’s birthday. I have been told that she is quite capable of following the instructions and baking on her own. Agreed.
Then I hear “Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom, can I have your opinion on these cupcakes please? They are giant but liquid in the middle. How long should I put them back in for? And why do they taste like Cherry Cough Syrup?”
Good Question… Ask Grandma.
My mom was a good egg in lots of ways. She always let me listen the radio station of my choice when we were in the car. She didn’t care. Dad on the other hand would say “This stuff is utter crap, I can’t listen to this.” And the station would change to some oldie station playing Peter, Paul and Mary or the Limelighters. This would account for my obscure and amazing talent of knowing every song ever written between 1948 and 1989, this includes jingles and TV theme songs. It’s a handy talent for some great trivia games and for radio quiz shows where I get to win tickets to The Who and The Rolling Stones.
Mom would also encourage me to experiment in the kitchen. I learned the basics from her and my Aunty Mary Poppins, but the fine tuning I did on my own. I dad would eat ANYTHING I put in front of him and he would always say, “That is the best I ever had! Did I make it?” Between both my parents, that made me fearless in the kitchen. I am not a swell cook – but I am an AMAZING baker. There is a difference. I think some people can be great at both but often they are only good at one or the other.
My girl is a self proclaimed distraction in the kitchen. I let her do all kinds of baking and cooking experiments but there is usually some disaster that happens and we need to figure out how to fix it. To be honest, it isn’t always fixable, so we pack it up and give it to her Grandpa (my dad) who will eat ANYTHING and say it’s the best ever.
I remember baking on Friday nights when we had a babysitter because Mom and Dad were off Dancing - I know…it was the olden days when people went dancing at the club – (as in country club) It sounds fancier than it was, but my parents loved it. We went through babysitters like some people go through socks. My brother and I were THE WORST KIDS EVER – not true - were only bad if we didn’t like the babysitter. I liked the weak ones. The ones that were nice on the outside but I could make them cry in an instant. One time we had this gal, a neighbor of my grandma, she came over and wanted to play games or watch TV and I would say – no. I am baking cookies.
“Are you allowed to do that?”
Me: NO – are you kidding? Mom is going to kill you. “Yes, my mom lets me all the time.”
“Okay – call me if you need help”
Me: pfffff whatever – “okay”
I went into the pantry and pulled out all the ingredients for Quaker Oatmeal Cookies. The Just Add Water kind of cookie mix that mom would buy and add a billion things to for granola bars. I used an entire package (enough for 1000 cookies) and a gallon of water. I think it said one cup but the measuring cup was really big – I think it was 8 cups. But I filled it because it was still only one cup.
I had made cookie cake. It was liquid porridge. I couldn’t spoon it onto a cookie tray, it would run all over the place. So I left it in the bowl, put all the dirty dishes and baking garbage into the oven and shut the door.
I went to join the babysitter and my brother and said I changed my mind. I didn’t want to bake.
Later while I was fake sleeping, my mother called me into the kitchen.
She had the keen sense of Sherlock Holmes. There wasn’t a dish left out, yet she knew.
“What happened in here tonight?”
Me: I was fake tired and said “What???’ in my sleepy fake voice.
“This kitchen is a disaster!”
Me: What are you talking about? I hid the evidence. I knew I needed to stay silent.
“Were you making cookies?
Me: How does she know this stuff? Silence…………
“Where did you hide the stuff?” She looked around and likely saw a fingerprint on the oven door.
Then I remember the oven door opening and the angry voice lecturing me for what seemed like a week. But thankfully dad came home and sent me to bed.
Now that I am a parent myself, these are the thoughts that run through my head:
- Why would the babysitter let an 8 year old bake cookies unsupervised?
- Obviously mom saw the flour dust all over everything. What is clean to an 8 year old is not clean to a mom.
- Why didn’t my parents just lock us up under the stairs to go out? We tortured babysitters for fun. How we make it out of our childhood alive is beyond me.
- I always thought my mom was crazy about cleanliness – I still do.
- Why did my parents change babysitters so frequently? Did the girls just say no? I would – but to be fair, I could talk those girls into anything and I think they didn’t expect that from a kid. I was the evil emperor of kids needing supervision. Let’s face it, after every girl in Sherwood Park failed and became brainwashed by my charms, there wasn’t a whole lot for them to do. They became powerless. I would put my sister to bed, I would talk my brother into running away or hiding or really – anything to make the sitter never wanting to come back. I’m sure my parents paid well, but sometimes no job is EVER worth it.
Meanwhile, my daughter just made cupcakes that taste like cough syrup and I am proud like I am raising a little me. Luckily her grandfather lives a block from the school, so when her friends don’t eat the cupcakes – he will.
And the family tradition continues….only the dirty dishes better not be hidden in the stove.