I always start out with such high hopes and good intentions. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday – truly the very best time with my grandmother and newfound, fabulous friends, all of whom were kind enough to protest my apologies when we ate two hours past our original estimate because that the turkey took far longer to cook than I’d planned (Alton Brown – dude, you’ve never led me astray before; what gives??). It was just perfectly cozy and fun and laughter-filled and delicious, so much so that, while we were doing the dishes after everyone had gone home and girls were in bed, Nick stopped to ask me, “Am I not agreeing strongly enough with what you’re saying? Because you’ve just told me for the fifth time that this was a really great Thanksgiving…”
So, after actually getting enough sleep last night (a Thanksgiving miracle, word!), I awoke today in a delightful mood, ready to throw caution to the wind and, by God, make some pumpkin donuts; today’s breakfast will be more than just juice, in the name of sugar and cinnamon and pumpkin spice, amen. To round out the morning (and perhaps atone for the donuts), I thought I’d do some yoga – after all, the floor was freshly vacuumed for last night’s guests, and I couldn’t let a dog-hair-free carpet go to waste – so I donned new yoga pants and a kicky black yoga zip-up top (thanks, Mom!), even stopping to admire my snazzy I Might Work Out Or I Might Just Strut Around In These Because They Make Me LOOK Like I’ll Work Out clothing in the mirror before heading downstairs.
It was all going to be just wonderful, you know? Right out of a Hallmark Special. I’d make the donuts (okay, does everyone who grew up in the Northeastern US still hear the Dunkin’ Donuts’ guy’s voice in your head intoning, “Time to make the do-nuts…” every time you think of donuts?) in my fantastically clean kitchen (hosting Thanksgiving definitely has its perks) while the girls – who, naturally, would be deeply grateful for my efforts – could either assist cheerfully by my side or play bucolically together downstairs.
A fresh layer of snow had fallen last night, adding sparkle to the eight or so inches that we already have on the ground. The sunlight was streaming into the kitchen, giving the entire room a warm, soothing-but-invigorating glow. Ah, yes. A grateful morning. Joy just oozing from my being. I started to get out the ingredients.
Annie came upstairs in tears not shortly thereafter, and, still in my This Is The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of haze, I picked her up and held her close, whispering sweetly in her ear to tell me what was wrong. “Ella hit me, and also scratched my arm.” Why had Ella done so? I wanted to know. “Because she wanted to put the Legos to bed somewhere else.”
Not wanting to break my reverie, I soothed her and apologized and reiterated that hitting and scratching are not appropriate ways to behave. I was just about to (kindly, gently, warmly) reprimand Ella for her behavior when I thought to ask Annie if she had, by chance, done anything to her sister to precipitate such an attack. Annie nodded solemnly and said, quite matter-of-factly, “Yes. I hit her really hard because she didn’t give me the Legos I wanted.”
And so came the first, If you can’t play nicely together, you’re going to be in separate rooms! of the day.
Turning back to the task at hand, I measured and whisked, mixed and stirred. I found my inner peace (or maybe it was just leftover Xanax) and breathed deeply into it, or whatever it is the yoga lady on YouTube says to do. The girls came upstairs, still grumpy, and I suggested that perhaps they were hungry. They denied that they were (even though it was 9:45 and they typically eat around 8:15), but reluctantly agreed to eat a little breakfast. Playing my Best Mommy Ever card, I offered them a slice of leftover apple pie, pumpkin bread, or a dinner roll, and when they asked if they could have little bits of all three, I said sure – it’s the day after Thanksgiving! We are so happy and thankful! We celebrate life! Of course you may have all three!
This, I assumed, would cheer them up and make them see just how very fortunate they are, not only for the abundant riches of our life, but for kick-ass moms like me who allow desserts for breakfast. We might have taken a slight scene break, but we would surely return to our Hallmark Special right after these messages. I was just piping the first globs of batter from the Ziploc bag into the donut maker when I felt this… stickiness… on my hands. Apparently, I hadn’t closed the zip on the bag tightly enough, because the enclosure came entirely open and there was now more pumpkin donut batter outside of the bag then in. And the only place to “catch” it and prevent it from falling calamitously to the floor was to sandwich it between my hands and my kicky new black yoga top.
The girls would chuckle at this, I figured. Or perhaps offer to help.
Instead, “Mommy, why are you making such a mess with our donuts?” was their charming inquiry.
With two donuts already baking in the donut machine and batter completely covering my hands, the only solution was to scrape it from my fingers and into the other donut receptacles. I was madly stuffing the sticky globs into place when the girls attempted to leave the kitchen. Mistake.
Please stay seated – I’m making donuts for you.
They didn’t leave the premises but, rather than remaining seated, they chose to horse around with the dog gate – the one that is held precariously within the door frame and that must be treated carefully – and succeeded in not only knocking themselves to the ground, but the gate as well.
I might have reminded them that they’ve been told at least a million times not to play with or hang on the gate, and I may have said that they were going to be responsible for fixing it if it took them all day to do so… But I’m not entirely sure, because I was busy checking on the donuts while also scrubbing donut batter from my hands and my now-batter-stained sweatshirt. When they finally succeeded in putting up the gate and attempted to walk away, I’m quite positive that I growled at them to return to the kitchen because I AM MAKING DONUTS FOR YOU.
After they grudgingly ate the donuts (whispering to themselves that they were as tasty as the apple donuts I’d made earlier this year, but, still angry with me for getting in trouble, not even glancing my way), they then headed off to play. Perhaps the morning isn’t all a loss, I reasoned. They’ll play happily now and I can enjoy a donut in peace…
“If you EVER touch me again, I will never speak to you!”
“I didn’t do it on PURPOSE!”
“Don’t you even know how to use your HANDS?”
“Don’t you even know how to use your MOUTH?”
THAT’S IT. YOU NEED TO PLAY SEPARATELY. AND IF I HEAR ONE MORE WORD FROM EITHER OF YOU, YOU WILL SPEND THE AFTERNOON IN YOUR ROOM.
I AM SO THANKFUL FOR THIS DELIGHTFUL MORNING.
Something is oozing from my being, but I’m pretty certain it isn’t joy. But let’s be honest: those Hallmark Specials always kind of sucked anyway.
If the YouTube yoga lady tells me to breathe into my toes, I will leave her a VERY nasty comment. Then again, can one even still do yoga if your sweatshirt contains more donut than your stomach? Surely I can burn just as many calories outside in the snow as I could Downward Dog-ing in the living room… Especially while making snowmen. Or throwing snowballs.
I know of two particularly appealing targets right about now.