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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

The whole is greater…

October 30, 2009

Does this really need a caption?

Does this really need a caption?

Just pulled a batch of pumpkin muffins out of the oven. Don’t know who put them in there but I’m grateful as all get out! Watching those beauties cooling on the rack, I’m struck by the utter perfection of a muffin. Aromatic. Golden. Round. There’s a cosmic wholeness to each one those puppies.

When Fayette was 3, David and I took her on a weekend outing to Lake Tahoe with another couple and their two little boys. (Important Note: Unless you know people really well and like spending lots of time with them and their kids, or you’re actually looking for a way to end a friendship, do not go on vacation with another family.)

At a pit stop we hit a local bakery. I told my daughter to pick out anything she wanted from the enormous display case. After careful consideration she chose a giant cookie carpeted in rainbow sprinkles. Her eyes shimmered as I handed her the treasure. Holding it tenderly she seemed incredulous that something so beautiful belonged to her.

But before Fayette had a chance to nibble, the other mom (the one we were traveling with not my evil alter-ego) snatched the cookie away saying, “That’s too big for you to eat by yourself. Let’s share it.” Then she snapped  it in two and handed half to her son and the other half back to my shell-shocked little girl who instantly erupted in dispair.

The Other Mom shot me one of those looks: “You must be a crappy mom to have such a spoiled brat.”

For the record, Fayette was never a brat. Part of the explanation is her naturally sunny disposition and I can’t take credit for that. The other part I can and will take credit for… the simple fact is that I am a great mom! But I digress.

Back in the bakery I totally got my daughter’s reaction. I almost cried too! In one swell foop, Fay’s perfect, whole treasure was reduced to… a crumbly mess.

We’ve (mostly) forgiven that woman’s misguided attempt to teach kids the joy of sharing. No seriously, she’s forgiven. Really she is!

We suffer a loss when something that ought to be whole is less than whole. As parents we often offer up just part of what we should be giving to our children. I know we’re stretched and stressed. But we still have the ability to deliver the whole. That would be our complete attention when our child wants to show us something (even when you have “a million other things to do”). It’s a completely open mind when your daughter needs to talk about something that’s worrying her (even if it makes no rational sense to you). It’s also a completely open heart when your son confesses to making a mistake or apologizes for messing up.

Please just give them the whole damn cookie. That’s what we signed up for. That’s what they need.

UPDATE: If an unemployed jack-o-lantern is loitering on your doorstep, here’s a great way to put that melon head to use while having fun in the kitchen with the kids:

Pumpkin Raisin Muffins (Thank you, Betty Crocker)

1 and 1/2 cups flour 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
(Gotta cook it first. You knew that, right?)
2 tsps baking powder 1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp salt 1 egg
1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400. Grease muffin tin. Mix all ingredients just until flour is moistened. Fill muffin cups. Bake 18-20 min. Pop ’em out of the pan. Cool. Devour.

Happy Halloween weekend!

Filed under: Holidays,Parenting,Tips — Tags: — Annie @ 2:38 pm


  1. I’m caught btwn pensive joy reading the insight, simplicity, beautiful prose, esp. in your closing thought…and “ROFL.”

    The incredulous antics of “the other mom” (who is so obnoxious I don’t forgive even tho I wasn’t even there!) is something we can ALL relate to, along w/a closet full of teachable/terrors that stick in our mental relays. (Reminds me of the comedic surrealism in Jim Carrey’s flick, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)

    Thx for the smile, and metaphorical zen moment, Annie. Needed that today. 🙂

    Comment by Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth — October 30, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

  2. In her attempt to enforce “sharing,” the other mom seems to have forgotten a more basic rule of good behavior – Don’t Grab! What a sad moment.

    Annie, thank you for the cookie analogy to remind us how essential it is for us as parents to “deliver the whole” to our children. This is one story/reminder I won’t soon forget. Beautifully written!

    And – enjoy those pumpkin muffins! They look scrumptious!

    Comment by Joan Celebi — October 30, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SpecialNeedsCoach and Annie Fox, Annie Fox. Annie Fox said: Just posted new #Parenting blog. Enjoy! […]

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