A few times a week my boys and I attend a play centre near our house. It was one of the first outings I did on my own with the two of them and we’ve been going for a few months now. While chatting with one of the teachers that works at the centre I mentioned that I liked to bring my toddler to play with other kids because I wanted to make sure he was still getting a good amount of organized activity and socialization while he was home with me. I was feeling self-conscious about how much I could offer him verses the kind of experiences he was having in daycare before I was off. I’m not sure if she was aware of my insecurities or was just saying exactly what she believed to be true, but she quickly pointed out how amazing it was that my little one was getting to spend time with me. That he would learn, grow and gain so many things from our days spent together. “What could be better than baking cookies with his mom?” She asked.
Not long after this conversation, my toddler decided that he wanted to help me “make” (bake). He pulled a chair up to counter and dove right in. I’m not sure if the short conversation we had gave me the confidence I needed, but it definitely helped me in my decision to give my little one the go ahead on this new venture. Now we “make” all the time. It’s something we do together as a family and I actually think we are all learning and growing from it.
As you’ve probably already guessed, based on my blog posts, I love to bake! It’s structure amidst the chaos of regular life. The act of baking, much like writing, is therapeutic for me and makes me feel incredibly happy. So inevitability, I want to share this joy with my children. There’s a feeling of satisfaction and delight that comes from gifting my baked goodies and or sharing them. Especially when people enjoy eating them. Baking also forces me to focus, keep my attention in one place, which rarely happens these days. So it’s safe to say that while we have fun baking together I’m also realizing that there is so much learning that happens for all of us.
Baking with my toddler is a fun, but also incredibly trying experience. He gets so excited about it and we have to find ways to channel that energy ( that’s where my learning happens). It’s a huge mess! If you bake often, you know it can get messy. Well baking with a toddler is crazy messy! Like eggs all over the floor and counter kind of messy, so it’s a lesson in patience for my husband and I. But what does happen when we bake with him is his eyes light up! He feels confident and part of something and this kind of trumps all of that other stuff. He may want to be a chef when he grows up, or he might not, but I am hoping that experiences like this will make him feel like he can do whatever he puts his mind to.
Baking isn’t something that came to me very easily, and my love for it grew over time. Staring in my mom’s kitchen over summer holidays inspired by Martha Stewart and later Julia Childs (Julie and Julia is still one of my favourite movies) and bonding with my best friend, baking became another creative outlet that I was excited to explore. It was difficult for me though because it’s precise, you can’t mix things up and hope for the best, there is a method to everything. When I met my husband, at the ripe old age of 17, his mom and grandmother taught me so much about the process of baking and how to play with recipes. We still bake together all the time and I’ve learned so much from them over the years that I hope to pass on to my little ones.