We had one stellar example of GIRL DRAAAA-MAAAAA this week.
It’s been a bit of a rocky start to school. Bear’s allergies have kicked up several notches so she’s not on her A-game. Stuffiness and a sore throat have made her slightly more miserable, so I know she’s not getting good sleep either.
All of that combined with a 6:00am alarm that’s For Real and we’ve got the perfect recipe for disaster.
I guess I have to back up to Sunday for the context to make sense. Sometimes things are going your way and sometimes they aren’t…they definitely weren’t on Sunday.
We’d made it through the entire summer without major incidents or injuries. Sure, Bear scraped a chunk off her forehead in the pool a few weeks ago, but that was cosmetic and healed quickly. Apparently life decided that, just to spice things up, we needed to deal with a crisis the day before school started. For pete’s sake.
There were a handful of boys in the driveway doing tricks on the skate ramp. Through a series of notable mistakes and misjudgments (by both kids and adults), a huge rule infraction slipped through the cracks and our neighbor’s son was hurt going off the top of the ramp without a helmet.
He’ll be okay, but let’s just say that Sunday was bad. Really bad.
At any rate, after a great deal of discussion about what had gone wrong and what needed to be done differently, we shifted focus to taking care of a friend who’d been hurt. The kids decided they’d make him cookies and get well cards, a solid suggestion because, well, cookies. We were busy on Monday afternoon so they planned to tackle that project together after school on Tuesday.
Bear walked through the door Tuesday afternoon already out of sorts. She wasn’t feeling well, and she’d sat near some kid on the bus that really got on her nerves. She also came in to get me at midnight the night before, so I knew she wasn’t fully rested. We’d met all the necessary conditions for Tornado Bear to make an appearance.
I listened from the family room as the kids started working on a joint “get well soon” card. It started to go wrong when Bear snapped at T-man for not consulting her on what he was writing (he’d used such inflammatory phrases as “We’re sorry you got hurt” and “Hope you feel better soon”) and making the card “only his.” She decided to make her own card and stomped off to get the paper, which I figured would be the end of our problems. Silly me.
They finished their cards and then moved on to the cookie-making portion of the afternoon, and this was when things really started to break down.
The butter became a major source of contention. Did “one stick” (as the package stated) mean they could use whatever part of a butter stick was in the egg compartment? (Ummm…no.) I prompted them to go to the actual box of butter, forgetting that I bought half sticks on my last trip to the store. Thus began a heated argument about how one of those sticks was “one stick” of butter, just like the recipe said, and this exchange escalated to the point that I had to step in again.
This was not going as well as their last two baking experiences.
The final straw was when too much water was added to the cookie mix. (I did mention this is one of those cookie mix PACKETS, right? I mean, it doesn’t get much easier than that short of buying the slice and bake cookie dough.) I didn’t bother going through it with them, considering the crazy state we entered into, but as an impartial third party observer I could have told them exactly how it happened.
They’d put the cookie mix into a bowl. Then I heard T-man reading “add 1 tablespoon water” as he followed the step. This was about when the butter fiasco sidetracked them, and resolving that took a good five minutes. When they returned to the bowl I remember hearing T-man comment that it looked too dry and, before I could call to them, he’d added more water to the mix. Probably not too much, but it turned out to be enough to alter the dough’s consistency. Fast forward to the crazy.
Suddenly voices coming from the kitchen were hitting a fever pitch and I could tell that soon there would be screeching involved, so I called them both to the family room. Again. And this was when the shit really hit the fan.
They both had hands covered in flour and dough mix and girly-girl looked extremely distraught. Bear began heatedly explaining that T-man had ruined the batter by adding too much water and now there was no way they’d be able to shape them into the balls, and if they couldn’t shape them into the balls then they wouldn’t be able to roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture, and now IT WAS ALL RUINED.
Gasp. (‘Cause, you know…ruined Snicker Doodles signal the End Times.)
To his extraordinary credit, T-man simply stood there and watched this train wreck before turning to me for my input. I started talking several times only to be interrupted by more cookie hysterics – on the third go ’round I stopped, told everyone to take a deep breath, then closed my eyes and counted to ten. By the time I was done I’d come up with a plan.
Had they screwed up? Yes. But here was a chance to accept that sometimes you make mistakes, and when that happens you adjust to your circumstances. So I told them we were going to think of a way to try making Snicker Doodles with their batter, bake them, and then see if they turned out halfway decent. Best case scenario? Cookies for their friend. Worst case? Inedible science experiment.
Then I started helping them brainstorm. I’d anticipated guided brainstorming followed by happy baking. This was the reality:
Me: Okay, so let’s say you have this batter and want to make cookies from it. How might you try doing that?
Bear: But we can’t use the batter, it won’t make the balls!
Me: Yes, I understand that it won’t make the balls, that’s not what I’m asking you. How could you use this batter to make cookies?
Bear: But without the balls we can’t roll them in the cinnamon to make Snicker Doodles!
Me: Right. I understand that the batter won’t form into balls. Those are the package directions, but other than the bake time we’re not using those directions. We’re making up our own directions now. So how could you do it?
T-man: Well, you could take the tablespoon and drop some of the batter on the cookie sheet.
Me: Great idea!
T-man: And then we could take our fingers and pinch some of the cinnamon stuff to sprinkle on top.
Me: That’s another great idea! That’s how you make lots of other kinds of cookies. Maybe it will work with this one.
Bear: BUT THEN THE CINNAMON STUFF WON’T BE ON THE BOTTOM OF THE COOKIE!!
Me: Okay…Bear…you’re my “follow the directions” girl and normally I’m all about that, I’m a “follow the directions” girl, too. But we CANNOT follow the directions with this dough. It’s not possible. You’re going to have to let go of how you’re “supposed to” make these cookies. THAT TRAIN HAS LEFT THE STATION so now we are brainstorming ideas for how we can turn the dough into cookies and I really need you to get on board.
I sent them back to the kitchen thinking great, we have a plan only to have things fall apart 30 seconds later when Bear suggested an idea that made T-man hesitate. (Again, science experiment: I was all okay, great, that’s thinking outside the box, just split the batter and try it both ways.) Yeah. That didn’t happen.
What did happen? Nuclear meltdown. Tears and hissy fits and feet stomping (FEET STOMPING, for the love) and time in her room. Let’s just say it was a remarkably long afternoon.
But you know what else happened? Cookie baking with T-man and a batch of (admittedly different but still tasty) Snicker Doodles to share with the neighbor.
So some ups, some downs, but overall it falls in the Win column because everyone was still breathing when BrightSide got home.
Plus, you know, cookies…