What really happens when children…

…bake Christmas cookies.

For example.

My 3 year old chatterbox loves to cook. She makes oatmeal, scrambled eggs and stirs stuff. My 5 year old likes cooking too, if something more pressing isn’t on his horizon (think hockey, soccer, neighbourhood kids, Lego…).

Which brings us to the Christmas baking.

Yes I realize it’s November. I am not one to start the Christmas craziness till after about the first week of December. But I realized something this year. Both my kids are not babies and toddlers anymore, and they want to help.

Their helping, with some planning and organizing on my part, actually turns some of the kitchen-related activities into a nice way to connect as a family, not to mention give ample opportunities to teach little lessons (measuring items, danger due to heat sources).

But it also takes more time. Much more time, to accomplish even a simple task in the kitchen when those two are with me.

Nevertheless, baking Christmas cookies seems to be the right kind of activity to include small children in ways that is very different from when they were toddlers who wanted to help.

But here is where it gets interesting.

You may find yourself having images in your head that remind of magazine covers. Or advertisement, on TV, in print, on billboards. You see the smiles, the togetherness, the perfectly formed and decorated cookies and you think

Hey I can do that with my family!

Well, sort of.

The magazines, and Christmas books, neglect to tell the real story. The story that involves incessant talking:

Mommy can I help?
Yes you can help.
Mommy can I help you?
Yes Sonja I said yes you can help. You can stir this with the spoon.
Mommy, can I help you NOW?
Yes Sonja I already said you can help now…

There’s the story with the inevitable mess due to boys who cannot stand still for a moment:

Benjamin, why did you whack that little bowl with the sprinkles in it? Look what happened. They all rolled under the dishwasher.
Waaaaaaaa!
Benjamin, crying isn’t going to solve this problem. Get down on the floor and pick up the ones you can reach.
I waaaant mooore spriiiinkles!
Benjamin, we will make cookies again another time. If you prefer to play hockey by all means, go ahead. But do not bring that hockey stick into the kitchen again!

There’s the story of how the cookies are supposed to look:

And then there’s the most delicious, crooked, decorated, lopsided Christmas cookies we have ever had!

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