Sunday, May 22, 2011

A little Grace with my Motherhood Please.....

A 4 year old and a 2 year old (both boys) in the tub together equals lots of splashing, squeels of laughter, toy throwing, and questionable bubble sources -- which of course leads to more laughter.  Meanwhile, my six year old daughter is happily and quietly playing with Pet Shops and Barbies in the other tub.  Lord, if you choose to bless me with another child, I respectfully request a girl.

Abby is fully entrenched in a very pink, very magical world.  At any given time she will have at least three on-going dramas set up in her room.  Ponies playing with Polly Pockets, Pet Shops traveling with Unicorns, or Barbies putting on fashion shows with Mermaids (underwater, of course).  Her brothers eat up a lot of my time and energy, but every so often I am able to join her in this special world.  Every time I do I can see fairy dust sparkling all around her and there is the faint tinkling of tiny bells in her sweet voice.  So, the other day, Eli (the 4 year old) was content watching Scooby Doo and playing with Spider-Man and Jonah (the 2 year old) was sleeping in.  I detected a chance to have the little girl all to myself.  I asked if she would help me make breakfast and my heart warmed when she breathlessly answered, "Oh, yes!  Can we make blueberry muffins with real blueberries?"  I wonder how long she had been waiting for me to ask.

Years ago a dear friend gave me a Williams Sonoma cookbook for muffins and quickbreads, it is one of my favorites and I use it all the time.  It has a very good recipe for blueberry muffins that is perfect for my daughter because it is short and easy to follow.  Her reading has improved tremendously over the past couple of months and she read the ingredient list and the instructions with relative ease.  Although I questioned the wisdom of teaching her how to turn on the oven, I did it anyway.  From there, the process was about ten times slower than it would have been had I done it myself, but pretty painless.  The hardest part was trying to teach her how to get 2/3 cup of sugar.  She figured out how to get 2 cups of flour without any trouble at all, so I thought for sure she would get it right away.  No such luck.  I finally gave up and just told her to use the 1/3 cup twice.  She did what I said, but she was looking at that measuring cup as if to say, "What?!?!  That doesn't make any sense!"  I try to take these reactions in stride, but as a math person, they chill me to my core.  I come from a family full of engineers so my mathiness is not an anomoly, but the gene skipped my niece and I have watched my sister-in-law struggle to get her to understand the most basic of concepts.  I lose sleep at night worrying that one of my own kids will be struck with the same afflicton.  It would be like an artist having a child that never quite understood that mixing blue and yellow together makes green.  It does make green, doesn't it?

Aside from the confusion over fractions, Abby was able to find all of the ingredients and follow all of the instructions without any intervention from me.  I was more than a little impressed.  Jonah awoke just as we were folding in the blueberries and Eli emerged from Spider-Man land about the same time.  I stopped her when it came time to fill the muffin cups.  I could see a major muffin batter mess in the making and, since it had taken well over an hour to pull the batter together, I was starving.  We filled the muffin cups, tasted the batter and Ooooo'd and Ahhhh'd over Abby's muffins as they began to rise in the oven.

It may have taken over an hour for my daughter to pull that whole recipe together, but it was time that I got to spend with her exclusively.  My boys bring tremendous joy to my life, but there is nothing pink and sparkly about them -- they are all about butt jokes instead.  They are also both attention mongers.  Ninety percent of the time Abby lets them hog the spotlight while she escapes to her world of rainbows and friendship, where everything is clean and smells like cotton candy, and nobody farts.  Because of the danger of one of her brothers drinking nail polish remover or running off with the nail polish only to dump it all over the carpet, we don't do the regular girly stuff like spa time.  Those two boys can't be left to their own devices for more than 15 seconds, and sometimes even that is too long.  We grab the moments we can and drink them in, and when they're over, we go back to playing football and Transformers and laughing at the word poop.

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