Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Things That Should Not Be Attempted With Toddlers Around

I am able to write this afternoon because the project I had assigned myself during the baby’s nap time was done in ten minutes. The project was hanging a border in the second half of the laundry room. The first half I had hung two weeks ago, and it was such an ordeal that I had put off the second half this long, thinking I would need to allot myself an hour without the baby.

Well it went like a breeze. I had that thing up, with no mishaps, within ten minutes. So much easier than the first half. And why was that? I had done that with my toddler at my feet.

Foolish, you may think, stating what is now, to me, the obvious. My toddler was happily watching a Winnie-the-Pooh video in the living room and I had these rolls sitting there waiting to be hung. The instructions looked easy enough. I opened them, got out my two-foot ladder, wet them, and started rolling.

Two minutes later, I had six feet of it up, was rounding a corner, and my toddler started climbing up to join me. The water was dripping down the wall, I had a bubble to work out, and the first six-foot section was falling down. Having thumbtacks within reach, I hastily tacked up the portion I had done, and stepped onto the washing machine so I could get up the remainder of the roll.

So there goes another chore onto my list of Things That Should Not Be Attempted With Toddlers Around. (I have a friend, a homeschooling mother of four, who started to hang a border in her kitchen years ago, and never finished!) Another big one – which I discovered years ago – is Baking Things From Scratch.

When my first-born was little, I used to bake cake and cookies from scratch a few times a week. I was famous for them! Then my second daughter came along, and something happened. A hard, flat Hershey’s Cocoa cake came to my in-laws in place of the scrumptious temptation I was used to bringing.

What could have happened? I went through my mind, imagining myself putting the ingredients into the bowl. Cracking the eggs – no, that hadn’t happened. No eggs! No wonder!

Another time, I left out the sugar. Even worse, one time I forgot the flour. That was hardly fit for the birds. Yet another time, I doubled the sugar. Why don’t we just eat out of the sugar bowl, my husband joked.

I finally declared that I was unable to concentrate on a recipe from start to finish with two little ones running around, and gave it up for several years. Baking from scratch is one of those things I now only attempt when the kids are in school and the baby is napping.

“What is too sublime for you, seek not,
into things beyond your strength search not.
What is committed to you, attend to;
For what is hidden is not your concern.
With what is too much for you meddle not,
When shown things beyond human understanding.”
Sirach 3:20-22

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