Monday, March 17, 2008

A cookie monster by any other name

The Jewish holiday of Purim is quickly approaching, and with it a flurry of baking, wrapping and delivering "mishlochay manot" to neighbors and friends. Each night this week I'm whipping up a different batch of cookies (and immediately freezing them to keep fresh) - then on Friday, the actual holiday, me and my costumed gang will deliver about 20 festively wrapped plates filled with a variety of yummy cookies to the great delight of everyone who's on the list.

(Don't tell anyone, but I have this fantasy that everyone on our street compares with each other, and secretly all hope to be added to my "baking list". I don't think I need to worry about any of them reading my blog, so we're safe) (oh, and don't tell my husband that these are my fantasies...)

Anyway - this year as I bake and wonder if I will continue this massive cookie tradition next year (last year I swore I wouldn't do it again) - I was thinking, if I only put this much effort into coming up with positive ways of helping my sons with homework, with housework, or with anything I ask them to do that immediately elicits an instinctive "NO". It seems that maybe I am directing my energies into things that are "nice to have" (like COOKIES) instead of really focusing on the issues that need attention. Cookies are always a success, relatively easy to prepare - there's a recipe, I follow it, cookies come out good, neighbors smile and thank me - it's a very positive experience.

On the other hand, when I remind my sons to do their homework, I am immediately met with resistance and crumblings of unfulfilled promises ("I'll do it later..."), which leads me to become a terrible nudge - reminding and demanding over and over again that they stop whatever it is they're doing and DO HOMEWORK. Which brings even more opposition, yelling and resentment - ultimately and almost daily a very negative experience.

Why can't my children be more like cookies? No, the question is, why can't the way I deal with my children be more like making cookies? I need to find the right recipe - a neutral, floury base (the initial approach), sweetened as necessary (maybe with a snack or some good quality time), and just the right amount of "baking powder" (or the equivalent amount of creativity) added to get things to rise...then once it's baking (the actual sit-down and do homework process), it's only a matter of time until we can all enjoy, and gain from, the tasty results. (Although I suppose I should expect to burn a few batches in the process)

And, as my youngest son's favorite song goes: "C is for Cookie, it's good enough for me" - but now that I think about it, I need to strive for much more than "good enough", I need to go for the whole bakery....

1 comment:

Dani in NC said...

Years ago, before I stopped caring so much about cooking, I used to wish that I could become known for a certain dish at church. You know, at the potluck there is always a certain woman's banana pudding that is the best and everyone flocks to her bowl as soon as she puts it on the table. I wanted to be that woman :-).