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Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

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

Give them the whole damn cookie…

November 18, 2013

UPDATE: Day 18 National Novel Writing Month. I’m 28,217 words into my YA novel. Can’t wait to find out what happens next in the story. Sure, I’m making it up, but if I already know everything my characters will say and do, plus every plot twist, there’d be zero fun in writing, thus I would not bother. It’s what I discover each day (about this fictional universe and myself), that keeps me drunk at the well.

Some semblance of the following was first posted in late 2009. Miraculously, the muffins are still fresh.

The Whole is Greater

Does this really need a caption?

Just pulled a batch of pumpkin muffins from the oven. Don’t know how they got in there, but I’m grateful as all get out. Golden, aromatic orbs of cosmic wholeness.

When Fayette was 3, David and I took her to Lake Tahoe with another couple and their two boys. IMPORTANT NOTE: Unless you know and like people really well, or you’re actually investigating ways to end a friendship, do not go on vacation with another family.

En route we hit a bakery. I let Fayette choose whatever she wanted from the display case. She picked a giant cookie carpeted in rainbow sprinkles and held it tenderly, incredulous that such a thing of beauty belonged to her. But before she got a nibble, Other Mom (the one we were traveling with, not my evil alter-ego) grabbed the cookie. “That’s too big for you to eat by yourself. Let’s share it.” Snapping it in two, Other Mom handed half to her son and the other half back to my shell-shocked girl who erupted in tears.

Other Mom shot me a “Woah, your kid’s a spoiled brat” look. I nearly slugged her for turning Fayette’s perfect treasure into a crumbly mess.

For the record, Fayette was never a brat. She sparkles with resilience and a sunny disposition, for which I can take no credit. She also has an outstanding mom. But I digress.

It’s been years since the unfortunate incident in the bakery and we’ve (mostly) forgiven Other Mom’s misguided attempt to teach the joys of sharing. No seriously, we don’t blame her any more. Okay.. well, maybe a tad.

When something that ought to be whole is less than, our wiring triggers a loss. Compound those disappointments and we lose our confidence and trust in the people around us. Obviously we adults can’t control what others give to us, but when it comes giving to our kids, we ought to deliver the whole. That means:

a) Our complete attention when our child wants to show us something, even when we’ve got a million other things to do.

b) Our completely open mind when our daughter needs to talk about what’s worrying her, even if it makes no rational sense to us.

c) Our completely open heart when our son confesses to messing up (again).

Our kids are quickly growing up and away. Give them the whole damn cookie while they’re still living with us. That’s what we signed up for. That’s what they need.

PS Got a pumpkin loitering about? Put it to use and have some 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.

UPDATE 2013: A year ago David and I went to Tahoe and searched for the same bakery. Alas, it was gone. But we found a nearby bakery, bought a large rainbow sprinkle cookie and presented it to a delighted Fayette when we returned to the Bay Area. She was touched, her eyes sparkle and we apologized for not doing more during the original Cookie Mishap. Of course she forgave us and happily ate the whole perfect cookie.

 

Filed under: Happiness,Holidays,Parenting — Tags: , , — Annie @ 12:44 pm
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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
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