Miss A woke up yesterday morning feeling vurrrrry emotional. I try – with occasional success – to respond gently and compassionately. This particular time, I recalled something my own awesome mama used to do when her batch of babies came down with a bad case of grumps: a mental health day.
That’s what she called it when it looked like the best response was to chuck the schedule and settle down to some serious leisure. Not laziness, leisure. We would pull out the craft supplies instead of school supplies, or pack picnics, or head out to impromptu field trips…one of the many joys of being a homeschooled child.
So, I figured if I wanted to do the best I could, doing like my mama was, as usual, the way to go. I chucked the chore list, abandoned the laundry, used up whatever pre-prepped food we had, and settled in for a good time.
We colored with our shiny new box of 96 crayons.
We did FaceTime with the aunties. We broke into our new bag of paintbrushes.
We had been trying watercolors but she wasn’t really interested. Then we tried washable paints, making little puddles of each color on her giant pad and letting her mix and spread and get her fingers in it…she likes that approach. We were having a pretty big time. Also, circle sponges on a handle are pretty awesome. She really liked those.
Then she asked if we could bake. We have some new cassava flour so I looked up a sugar cookie recipe and laid everything out for her to pour and mix to her little heart’s content. Because I’m tryna be like a cool mom and also get a fancy snap of the whole heartwarming experience.
Pretty, yes? I was quite proud of this picture. She even stretched her cute little arm over and I was like, “Awwww!”
We were having, I thought to myself, a Real Good Time. It was all getting to be a bit much, really.
Then, things got real. The recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I had already put it and the baking soda into the flour.
I forgot to move the salt pot back to its place by the stove.
Let’s revisit that first cutesie pic just right quick and I’ll show you the salt pot:
I walked away. For less than 90 seconds. To take pictures of the painting experience for posterity and Pinterest and whatever.
She’d dug in. I told her she could, you know, get her little fingers in there and have some tactile learning experience or something like that.
Keen observers will have noticed that although, as I said, I forgot to replace the salt pot, it is NOT in the picture with her cute floury fingers.
But where could it be?
Come to find out, she’d dumped it in. With her other little containers of cookie paraphernalia. All. Of. It.
Now, I dunno if you guys ever bought cassava flour or coconut sugar, but, they kinda pricey. And the problem with baking with them is, once you have put in your cassava or your coconut, you sort of feel like it’s a financial investment.
I didn’t feel like we could start over.
I reflected, staring at her cute ever-so-slightly-pudgily-precious fingers working away, that the whole point was for her to have a fun, relaxing day with me. And I was the one who left the salt there.
So, we added a little more sugar. A little more butter. Another egg. Lots of cocoa powder. Definitely no more salt.
We put them in cupcake tins.
They weren’t bad, really. They were smallish and dense and lumpy and…briny. I called them Salty Hydration Cupcakes. Because you were sure gonna get yourself hydrated after eating one.
But she had a great time. She was relaxed and chipper and chatting away. We had fun. We ate the Salty Hydration Cupcakes with Kerrygold, which covereth a multitude of sins.
And next time I maybe remember to put the salt pot back on a different counter.