Lets just face it, when you have small kids everything is messy. From eating yogurt, to drinking water, somehow some way it always ends up everywhere. I think there comes a time in every new mothers life where she goes…. okay, I am over it, you are messy and that is okay. It took a while for me. I am one of those parents, I was always wiping my sons chin when he was a baby, no drool no spit up no nothing on my spotless baby. However now having a toddler I have quickly learned to embrace the mess.
Its harder than it sounds. The other day my son was coloring with markers and thoroughly enjoying himself but also getting marker just completely all over his little hands. My inner self was cringing a little, wanting to wipe it but I took a deep breath and reminded myself that it was simply washable marker and that when he was done it would come right off. He had such a nice time and was so proud of his creation afterwards.
To celebrate the holiday season this year I really wanted to find a sugar cookie recipe that was vegan. This seemed like a task but strolling through whole foods one day I found a mix that was dairy free, and cruelty free. How exciting, when I read the ingredients I recognized most all of them and was so happy to know something like this existed. I found a vegan frosting tub as well, this was seriously awesome. Some of my fondest childhood memories around the holidays or even just in the winter time, were baking with my dad. He loved to show me how to bake. We used to make brownies, cookies, all kinds of things and I was always so proud tasting our creations when we were finished baking.
I could already see it, my little family baking and decorating cookies together. So I have had this mix in the cabinet for at least a week now and something made me wonder why I hadn’t pulled it out yet. Its been feeling stressful in our home since we are going through a lot of transition. We notice it in our little guy, he is heading into that toddler, two year old phase where things are a little more challenging. He is just asserting his independence and as any parent knows, it can make day to day tasks very exhausting. Furthermore, I am co-hosting a big craft show in 16 days, down to the wire now I spend a lot of my time during the day on the computer, on the phone and at the sewing machine making sure I am prepared for this big event.
As I was doing dishes and cleaning up after dinner tonight I saw the mix on the shelf and said to myself… “I think we need to do something as a family tonight.” I mean it was a Friday night, dinner was done relatively early, sounded like the perfect thing. So we prepped the kitchen got everything out that we needed, kitchen aid mixer, spatulas, flour for cooking cutting, cookie cutters. I had literally just made Auggie the cutest apron today and he was excited as I put it on him, knowing something good was about to happen because we were all in the kitchen.
So it began, pouring the ingredients, almond milk, vegan butter, vanilla extract, make the dough here we go! Auggie loved the dough spinning and clumping together in the kitchen aid. He helped me pour, he helped pull the dough out of the bowl and suddenly the mess began, flour was going everywhere it was on his hands, on his face on the floor. However in that moment, I wasn’t worried about the mess, because we were having so much fun. Jon and I taught Auggie how to “press” the cutters into the dough and transfer them to the sheet. He kept pushing his little hands and saying “Pressshhh Presshhhh.”
Then after putting a few cookies in the oven we just let him use his imagination and go at it, he was pressing all the cutters into the dough, looking back at us and laughing. We enjoyed this beautiful moment of peace watching him enjoy the experience he was having. His face was so concentrated, focusing on every little thing he was doing, then even transferring his own “creative” looking cookie to the empty sheet beside him. He was truly learning and having such a great time, we couldn’t have been more proud and happy.
It didn’t matter that everything was a mess after we had just cleaned the kitchen from dinner because we were enjoying each other. The best part was because there was no raw egg in the dough, when Auggie grabbed a little piece an ate it I wasn’t reaching to stop him. I felt like even if it was not a fruit, it was a little sugary and a little bit like junk food, he still could enjoy the holidays like we used to, like other kids without sacrificing his health and our values about what we put into our bodies. So the cookies are baked and ready to go, tomorrow night is decorating night!
This will be a night of memories we show him when he is all grown up and maybe someday when he has a special person in his life we will be sharing these memories with them or his own children one day. I realized tonight that we need to do this more, simple little activities that make a world of difference to us and to him. In a time of transition and stress we all got laughs and memories we desperately needed.