Friday, 15 July 2011

Cake Baking Revelations

I had a small revelation the other day whilst attempting to bake some cakes instead of buying them.

Carefully arranging the boys in front of the television, I snuck out of the lounge and into the kitchen in the desperate hope that they would not follow me and want to help. Unfortunately, Jonah's ever watchful eyes did follow me and he was soon behind me carrying the little stool (This stool is the bain of my life. Why on earth would you want to buy a toddler a stool to help them reach the very things you don't want them to reach?). He placed it squarely in MY space in the corner of the kitchen, climbed onto it and asked "Can I help?"

At this, my shoulders sagged and a deep sigh escaped. I really wanted to make the cakes quickly. I did not want to have to spend extravagant amounts of time and patience explaining anything or cleaning up the scattered flour afterwards. It certainly was a dilemma.

"You can't help me because I want to do it really quickly, but you can watch", I replied. Much to my relief, he seemed to accept this and settled himself on his stool ready to watch the action. I collected together all the ingredients, the mixing bowl and the electric whisk and got started.

Then, the chatter began.

"Those eggs look like bird's eggs." I couldn't believe it. All I wanted was to make the cakes, not turn it into some educational moment and here he was, trying his hardest to coax me into being educational. I refused to be drawn in.
In my most non committal voice, I answered "That's because they are."
He persevered. "Well, where are they from then?"
I persevered too. "Tescos"
He tried a different tack. "How many eggs are there? Let's count them."
I couldn't even bring myself to acknowledge the counting ability. "There are 3."
"Is that flour?"
"Where is the flour from?"
"Where is the sugar from?"
"Where is the butter from?"
"Oooh, chocolate powder! Where is that from?"

Poor, poor Jonah. No long chats about chickens laying eggs. No explanations about wheat and flour. No disucssions about butter coming from milk which comes from cows. It was the perfect opportunity for teaching but I just wanted to make the cakes as quickly as I could. I was not in the mood to be drawn into any discussion. In my perceived kindness, I had agreed to him watching me, but talking about it was not part of the contract.

This, and this only, is the reason why I am not able to home school my boys. Sometimes we have wonderful moments that are full of questions, answers, investigations, fun and excitement. My revelation, however, was that these moments only come when I allow them to and when I am in the mood for them. Sometimes, I am not in the mood. Sometimes, cakes just have to be baked without thinking.

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