Baking cookies seemed like the perfect activity for a rainy day. I poured the ingredients into the bowl while my two-and-a-half year old son slyly stole chocolate chips out of the bag. I pretended not to notice and handed him a big spoon so he could stir the ingredients together. When he was done we put the dough onto the cookie sheet in numerous misshapen clumps. After putting the cookie sheet into the oven I turned to my son and said “Ok, the cookies will take just a few minutes so in the meantime why don’t you go color?”
He hung his head a little bit but crept up onto the chair and absently grabbed a crayon. Cleaning up the dishes we had dirtied, I suddenly realized his crayon hadn’t touched the paper. I sat down next to him only to discover little boy tears just rolling down his cheeks. “What’s a matter baby boy?” I asked.
“I’m sorry I ate those choco chips and made you mad Mama.” He sniffled.
“Mad? I’m not mad honey, what makes you think I’m mad?”
“You said ‘in the mean time’!” he wailed.
(It took two more batches of cookies in the oven, a cup of milk and a couple cookies in our bellies, before I finally convinced him I wasn’t really mad. This was my first experience in trying to explain our complicated English language to a toddler and although it wasn’t my last, it was certainly one of the most memorable!)