When you meet the parents…

Flour is sifting gently down onto our toes, encrusting the bottoms of our socks.

“No, Naomi!  It’s my turn to roll!” Milo insists as he yanks the cutting board with the hunk of cookie dough away from his sister.

Naomi takes a last swipe at the dough before it’s wrenched from her grasp, and licks her fingers.

“Naomi, go wash your hands in the bathroom,” I command.

“Ok” she agreed, leaving floury footprints on the blue carpet.

“Milo, hang on, be gentle.  Don’t just smash the dough with the rolling pin!”  I can feel my wrinkles deepening.  Phil Keaggy’s acoustic guitar broadcast through a tiny cell phone speaker isn’t enough to maintain my calm.

Earlier that morning Milo had delved into the corner cupboard and resurfaced with a miniature cook book in hand.  “Let’s make these cookies!” had he suggested, eagerly.  I had flipped through the book.  They all involved cookie cutters, piped icing,  sprinkles, and references to what “mum or dad” could do to help.  But I guessed that there was really no reason NOT to spend an hour or two baking.  First thing in the morning my patience would be at its highest apex…not that that’s super reassuring, knowing my low reserves of that commodity. 

Earlier that morning Milo had delved into the corner cupboard and resurfaced with a miniature cook book in hand.  “Let’s make these cookies!” had he suggested, eagerly.  I had flipped through the book.  They all involved cookie cutters, piped icing,  sprinkles, and references to what “mum or dad” could do to help.  But I guessed that there was really no reason NOT to spend an hour or two baking.  First thing in the morning my patience would be at its highest apex…not that that’s super reassuring, knowing my low reserves of that commodity.

“Ok, we can do that.” My lack of enthusiasm doesn’t dampen Milo’s zest at all.  “Just let me have a cup of tea first.”

I pulled the butter from the fridge and struggled to cut off a hunk.  “You’re going to use half of it!” Milo insisted.

“175 grams, yup,” I responded grimly.

Milo climbed up on the counter and reached for the microwave, apparently planning to open its door while balancing on one knee with a glass bowl of butter in his other hand as a counter weight.

“Hang on, hang on, hang on!  Let me do that!”  I remonstrated.

“My turn to stir!” Milo asserted, slopping the butter from one side to the other.

“No, my turn!” Naomi, never to be left behind, affirmed her rights.

“Stop, don’t pull!” I bark.  “You’ll have a turn after Milo!”  I scoop a cup of sugar.

“Can I dump that?”  Naomi sees her chance.

The bowl passes to Naomi.  “You’re not doing it right!” Milo, always the authority on everything, insists.  He leans over the bowl and Naomi turns her shoulder protectively.  The chairs they’re perched on wobble.

“Hey, stop pushing in!” I raise my voice, pulling on Milo’s shoulder.

Just then a teacher’s quote about PTA conferences pings in my mind.  “When you meet the parents, you forgive the child completely.” 

Sigh.

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