being a mom

How To Survive Baking Christmas Cookies With A 4-Year-Old

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You know those commercials that pop up around the holidays that show a family baking happily together? Flour dusting the children’s rosy cheeks as they sprinkle the cinnamon and steal licks of batter. Everyone giggles. Mom is all smiles, and the kids are listening attentively to her measuring instructions. One big happy family.

Well, these commercials, no matter how heart-warming, are complete and total bulls**t. They would lead to you to believe that baking with your family – small children included – is a fun, care-free event! But no matter how developmentally nurturing it may be, baking with kids, especially four year olds, happens to suck. So does the clean up.

If you’re a really nice mom and still plan to bake with your four-year-old anyway, here’s a step by step guide to help. Do not stray from it. And no matter what you do, do not believe the commercials. They’re lying to you. They’re lying to us all… 

Step 1: Set up your work table.

In addition to your cookie ingredients you will need: Eight rolls of paper towels, three large beach towels, a mop, a (big) bottle of your favorite wine, snacks (you’re gonna be here for a while), dress-ups (for when she gets bored) and two aprons. Even if your kid is shoveling sugar down her shirt, she’ll still want to have the illusion of being a good and well-dressed baker.

 Step 2: Pour yourself a huge glass of wine and drink half of it before you begin.

This is probably the most important step. You’re going to need a minor buzz to get by without a panic attack.

Step 3: Give your child an age-appropriate task while you do the sifting, egg cracking, and dumping of liquids into the bowl. Stirring, for example! When your child protests and cracks five eggs in, shell and all, don’t yell. Calmly pick out the shells and double your batch so it’s not too egg-y.

Step 4: Pour yourself another huge glass of wine. (I know, this one goes without saying.)

Step 5: Find some words of praise. Perhaps congratulate your child on being such an enthusiastic little baker through your clenched jaw as you wipe the egg out of your hair.

Step 6: Take deep breaths while your kid dumps the perfectly measured dry ingredients in. Try and calculate how much is on the table, the floor, and her shirt and how much actually made it into the bowl. Grab and extra handful of each and toss it in.

Step 7: Realize your kid has been scratching her butt on and off for the past 15 minutes and she needs to wash her hands. Push a chair over to the sink and let her play in it as long as humanly possible. There won’t be any dish soap when she’s through but at least these cookies might turn out borderline edible.

Step 8: Use one of your beach towels to dry the floor by the sink. And while you’re at it, get on your hands and knees and just wipe down the whole thing. It’s been God knows how long since you cleaned it and now that you’re down there, OMG. EW.

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