My 2 year old loves baking cookies, almost as much as she loves eating them. If allowed, I’m pretty sure this child would eat her weight in cookies. Around a year old, I started getting her involved in making them. It started as sitting on the counter with me, holding her own spatula. Then she helped stir, throw in chocolate chips and oatmeal, holding measuring cups and dumping those in the bowl, etc. Recently, she became fascinated with me cracking eggs. The first time she grabbed an egg and asked to crack it, my instinct was “NO“.
I mean, she’s only 2. Toddlers don’t crack eggs. Can you imagine the mess that would happen? I’d probably end up with egg shell pieces in the batter and the egg yolk all over me or the counter or the floor. I don’t want to waste eggs. I want these cookies to turn out right.
But then I looked at her sweet face and watched her sadly set the egg back on the counter. God showed me in that moment (very quickly, thankfully!) that I was more concerned with a “mess” than enjoying a moment with my girl and the opportunity to teach her something she was excited about. I was more concerned with “waste” than encouraging her independence and empowering her. (okay, I know ’empowering’ is a big word for this situation, but if I can’t empower my daughter in the little things, will I really ever be able to do it in the big things?) I was more concerned with “me” than with her.
So I took a big breath, and stepped out, I mean WAY out of my comfort zone and told her she could crack the egg. And I’ve been letting her try it ever since then. She can almost do it herself! It took her a while to figure out how to hit the bowl hard enough to crack it, but now she’s got that down and we’re working on how to pull apart the shell so that only the egg ends up in the batter. And yes, i’ve picked out lots of shell pieces from our cookie batter lately. So far I don’t think I’ve missed any.
I think this whole thing was a lesson more for me than for my daughter. It’s in my nature to want things done now and done right. I tend to be driven, and a doer, which are fantastic qualities I don’t want to lose. However, there is a time and place to let them run free, and a time and place to reign them in. Baking with my daughter was a moment to reign them in and instead, let patience, teaching, grace, and encouragement run wild. I realized that doing this means I pass my drive, my independence…over to my daughter. It’s a little scary, but hugely exciting and I’m looking forward to seeing those things develop in her.
Parenting in moments like these makes me so thankful for Holy Spirit. Because there is no parenting book to tell you exactly when you should let your child crack an egg. Even if there were (or is?) it just wouldn’t be very helpful because every parent is different and every child is different. Holy Spirit is that voice that encourages me when to loosen my grip and when to tighten it. The voice that points to right or left, up or down. Holy Spirit simply makes me a better mama.
Encouragement – You can remove the egg shells from the cookie batter (and live to tell about it). No one can remove the love and empowerment you pour into your child. Never fear coming out of your box to experience life with your little ones!