Spoonful of sweetness for a dose of distress
I can’t begin to tell you the kind of day we had around here. You wouldn’t want to waste time reading about it if I did. I will say the morning began with two girls arguing over who had to do what in the barn at 7 a.m. and everyone wanted me to pick a side. I refused and by some stroke of divine intervention said, “Ask yourselves this: ‘What would Jesus do?'”
The impact was immediate. Both girls froze. They stared at me in disbelief, glared daggers at each other and then traipsed to the barn, albeit in a huff. I considered mentioning that Jesus wouldn’t stomp his barn boots and slam the door, but how am I to know if he would or would not do such a thing in this situation?!
Long, painful stories short, it was a cranky-pants, grouchy Gus, antagonistic and all-around mean-spirited kind of day. And by 3 p.m. I’d had just about enough. The end of my rope was frayed, tattered and nearly disintegrated. So …
I pulled a Mary Poppins.
Sing along with me … “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down …”
Yes. I mixed up a batch of Oatmeal Coconut Chip Cookies. I sang show tunes while I did it. I even did one opera number with a false vibrato that shook the glasses in the cupboard. That was about the time the boy child burst into tears because no one would carry his basket of trucks and tractors upstairs. He hadn’t nicely asked anyone to help him, mind you, he just wanted it done. Yelling “Come here, now!” at his pre-teen sister didn’t yield the desired result.
I stopped singing. I closed my eyes, gripped the kitchen counter until my knuckles turned white and counted to 10,000. I forced my lips into a toothsome smile and practically skipped into the living room. I gathered my sullen, teary-eyed boy in a desperate hug that begged him to please calm down before Mommy gets apoplexy.
I explained proper way to ask for assistance (again) — the main point being that one should never scream like a banshee or spin around like a Tasmanian devil. Also, interrupting Mommy’s lecture with, “Holy smokin’ cigars those cookies smell good!” is entirely inappropriate.
The timer beeped. The cookies came out of the oven.
I force-fed them sugary baked goods so they’d smile and I promised a second to anyone who giggled. After that, they went to their rooms for an hour of silence that lasted 7.2 minutes. That’s about the time I called their father and had a mental breakdown.
He told me to have a cookie.
Oatmeal Coconut Chip Cookies
from the Mennonite Country-Style Recipes cookbook by Esther H. Shank
Cream together thoroughly:
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
Add, beating until fluffy:
1 tsp. vanilla
Sift dry ingredients together (except oatmeal) and add alternately with water:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups quick oatmeal
3 tbsp. warm water
1 cup flake coconut
1 cup chocolate chips
Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.