I shared the secret ingredient!

Lance and Kyle have really taken a liking to cooking the past few days and weeks. I should not be surprised, but really it does surprise me a little bit. 
Why? The answer to that requires a little bit of a confession. Should I really divulge this in such a public forum? I am not sure I should, but I will. I have not really done anything to foster this or even cater to this “like of cooking.” I honestly, do not want to for purely selfish reasons. I like my kitchen the way it is and I do not like cleaning up the messes that other people leave behind. I know that everyone that knows me well is probably laughing at me. I am okay with that. Really. 
While I am in the mood for confessions, let me give another one. I do not like people in my way when I cook. I do not like children or husbands (or even sisters or friends) in my way or under my feet or anywhere around when I am cooking. There I said it. I like to be alone when I am in my kitchen. I like to be in my own little private sanctuary in my head when I am in the kitchen. Yes, sometimes I do need help in the kitchen, but come do what I need and then leave me alone. I do not think that this is too much to ask when I am in my “zen state.” 
It has always been like this. I have never liked having the kids under my feet in the kitchen. I do not want to think about where small hands or heads or feet are when I turn around or step back. I do not want to contain small children when it is time to open the oven or move a hot pot. I just do not want to do it. I do not. It is nothing personal, it is just not something that I enjoy. 
When I get in that kitchen I want to do my thing. If I need to get in and out, I want to get in and out. If I want to spend several hours moseying about, I want to pull up a seat on an uncomfortable stool on the floor in the corner and mosey around. I am okay with that. 
So I will confess that I have never really embraced the idea of cooking with my children as being a fun idea. I shout praises to all my friends that do it. For me, it just is not something that is fun. It is more of a bother and hassle and something that mentally I could not come to embrace. At least not when the children were young enough to be the burden in the kitchen. I am not saying that it did not ever happen, I am just saying that it was not something that I did on a regular basis or embraced with open arms or even looked forward to with a big smile on my face. I had to work myself up to enjoy those moments. They were typically moments that were not planned…
Like today. Like the past few weeks. Like the past few days especially. Of course, I should just get over it when I look at this picture of Lance and Kyle with their big smiling faces. That should be enough to tell me that these moments are worth it.
Lance (left) and Kyle (right) using mommy’s big mixer to make mommy’s famous cookies. They learned what the secret ingredient was today.
Don’t get me wrong, they are worth it when they happen. The results are always worth it. The mess afterward, not so much. The time spent, always. Still I have to work myself up to these moments. I have to work myself up to remain calm in those moments of frustration and wanting to just “do it myself” because it will be “faster and easier.” That is me and my nature. 
However, there are lessons to be learned from these times. They discovered what the secret ingredient was for mommy’s famous cookies. It was not anything fancy. It was nothing huge. It was something simple. 
I did cheat and pour out the small measured ingredients and set them on the counter. This included the “secret ingredient.” I asked what was sitting on the counter. We did use this as an opportunity to “learn” something. Lance could identify two of the items. Kyle likewise. He could at least guess at the third. Neither of them could identify the baking soda. They all knew what the vanilla was though! Yes!
I then had them read down the list of ingredients on the recipe. They did not get it at first. I asked them which ingredient was not on the list. Ah ha! There it was. They both knew what the secret ingredient was. They were surprised. It was something that they had seen me put in lots of cookies lots of times and not just this recipe. It never dawned on them that it did not belong in the cookies. It is not in the recipe. There was something else different on the counter and I had them identify that. They did not catch it as fast either. I had to lay it out for them and ask again. They caught it. 
Then we were on our way. We started with Lance reading the directions on how to put the stuff together. I reminded him that it was going to be a little bit different since we were using the big mixer and we could follow the directions a little differently. Kyle chimed in that I was “tinkering” with the recipe again. I always tinker with the recipes so this is no surprise. Really though, the mixer does a mighty fine job of creaming butter, sugar, and eggs all at the same time so we loaded it up and turned it on…
Lance (left) and Kyle (right) watching the mixer make light work of the “creaming”job.
Lance could not wait to get his finger in the finished dough. That and his tongue on the mixer’s beater. I, of course, turned it off before I allowed that. I was worried enough about my mixer and small little fingers attached to the body of the boy who had two emergency room trips by February. Just what I did not need was yet another trip this year. 
It was interesting when loading the beater onto the mixer, I should add. I held out the box and took the lid off and told him to get the beater out of it. He asked, “which one?” That was a fair question. I assumed he knew since he’s seen me do cookies more than once. However, I typically use the white beater. It was not in the box. I had forgotten about that one. I had not been to the store to get a new one yet. He asked where it was. Fair question. I explained that it was cracked. That it had probably been dropped and that the ceramic coating on the outside of it had started to crack and fall off so I had to throw it away. It was not a big deal at the time, Ben pointed it out the last time I used it and was licking the beater. He saw the place where it was chipped off. I knew it was cracked but it had not started to chip off yet. Chipping paint is a different story. So I just had him throw it away. 
Lance confessed to being the one that had dropped it. He just looked at me and said that he accidentally dropped it. He had the most precious face. I was not mad. It was just an accident and I knew it had been dropped when I saw that it had started to crack. It was not a big deal. It happens. I told him I would just get another one when I went to the store where they sold them. I prefer the coated beater over the non-coated beater but I had the non-coated beater to work with so it was not a big deal. It all worked out.
But the boys made a double batch of cookies today. Mostly by themselves. Once the dough was made, as I was supervising the mixer for safety reasons, I was able to walk out of the room after the first pan of cookies went into the oven. I went in and checked on them from time to time, but the boys handled it all by themselves for the most part. Lance whined about the amount of work. Kyle got upset because he was doing more. Lance got upset because his brother was getting upset. Yep, it was right on par for what I expected in the end. 
Over all, I would not change the experience. The kids learned a valuable lesson. They learned that when they ask mommy to make cookies and she says, “that is too much work for right now” she really means it. They understand that first hand. They know for themselves that cookies are a lot of work. They also know that they taste delicious and mommy makes the best cookies, but they now understand what it takes to get that. 
That lesson, I would not trade for anything. I might have had to work myself up to that experience today, but it was a lesson that I had not intended to teach. So here is to teaching lessons from those spontaneous moments…

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