Embracing the Choas

I love baking. If baking were a love language, that is how I would show love to everyone. I try to do it at least once a week, regardless of the fact that it can get up to 118 where I live, and that it is at least 100 for about 5 months out of the year. I love trying new recipes and using whatever fresh fruit we have at home to zazz up cookies or muffins. I wanted to be the mom that makes the best chocolate chip cookies. When I started staying home with the boys full time, I thought I would have more time to do what I love, and start to learn how to cook. What I did not anticipate is the boys insistence to be in the kitchen with me, ALL THE TIME.  Whether I am making coffee, or trying to cook a meal for our little family, they need to be under foot. This is also a good time to add that I have a little kitchen in our cozy home. I have accidently knocked my toddler over with my tush, or stepped on my crawling baby's hand, while trying to make dinner. My baking hobby was starting to become a stressful thing that I insisted on trying to do every week, that I was only enjoying like 20% of the time. But I did not want to give it up. It was a fun outlet, and I just wanted to create something that had minimal clean up and yummy results. I recall one morning when I was trying to quickly whip up a batch of banana muffins for a mom's group, and Oliver my two year old, and I just kept running into each other, causing me to spill flour ALL OVER THE KITCHEN. It was not a fun morning. 

One day I was trying to bake my favorite chocolate chip cookies and I had scolded Oliver one too many times, and decided that I was not going to be the mom that makes "the best chocolate chip cookies" but hurts my children in the process. So I pulled up one of our dining table chairs, helped my 2 year old up onto it, and had him whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together with a soft rubber whisk. I figured, this will keep him busy for a bit while I prep everything else, and if he spills, I have more flour. I did not even know if he would enjoy it, but I was getting desperate and figured the worse that could happen is a bigger mess than usual. HE LOVED IT. He was so thrilled to join in the fun, and whisked that flour like it was his JOB. Soon, every time I was in the kitchen, he would say, "HELP!" and pull up a chair. We have cheesy eggs every morning for breakfast, and he stands on a chair next to the stove with me and gleefully grabs fistfuls of cheese alternating between putting some in the skillet, and stuffing some in his mouth. I am teaching him how to crack eggs, we have lost a few, but it has been so fun! He loves mixing, taste testing, and adding cheese to everything. He is so my kid. 

The thing is, it is so easy to get overwhelmed with the mess and the chaos. I mentioned before that we have a cozy home, and while I absolutely love it, 1 box of toys split over makes the whole house looks like a tornedo hit it. Sometimes the chaos of having two little boys can feel like I am living with little, adorable, wild goats. There is a lot of climbing, yelling, messiness, and general mischief. But I am learning to embrace that chaos little by little. I actually have fun cooking with my toddler now, and know that once the baby starts walking (probably in the next few weeks!) I am going to have another helper. Does it take me twice as long to make dinner? YES. Does my patience get tested? YES. Am I constantly checking and re-checking everything to make sure that we are trying to cook together safely? YES. But it helps us bond, and is giving my Oliver a love for cooking that I hope will garnish a dedication to me when he publishes his first cook book. Inviting them into what I am doing has given me back the joy of baking and cooking. Now we can boast about how the peach cobbler was made by BOTH of us, and then I don't feel so bad if you find a chunk of egg shell in your slice. 

Copyright 2018 Diana Cantu. All Rights Reserved.

Image Credit: Copyright 2018 Karen Padilla. All Rights Reserved.

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