Betty Crocker?

I don’t know whether to be flattered or run for the hills. Chloe was watching her daily dose of TV when a commercial for a Betty Crocker baking kit appeared. You can guess what followed: “Mom, can we get this? It’s really creative! It’s only $10. You have the money for it.” The commercial showed a homemaker-type woman expertly decorating various cakes using all sorts of plastic tips and icing.


It’s true that I baked a mean pear tart for Thanksgiving. It was delicious, and in the best compliment I could have received, reminded my French husband of his homeland. But I am still the same mommy who attempted to make cupcakes for Chloe’s 6th birthday, and ruined half of them when I put the icing on before they had cooled off. And I had used A MIX, for crying out loud!

For Chloe to think that I had it in me to make cakes like the ones in the commercial just goes to show you how misplaced children’s confidence in their parents can be. Earlier today, our neighbor (and the mother of one of Chloe’s friends) dropped off a plate of lovely holiday cookies. They were pretty and yummy.

In a fit of what I’ve taken to calling Mommyness (defined as a somewhat nauseating and fleeting sensation deep down in the pit of my stomach – that’s periodically afflicted me since leaving work last May – that causes me to believe that I’m capable of being the most patient, most loving, most generous and most talented mom ever), I promised Chloe that we would make some cookies this year, in honor of our French relatives, who are coming to visit for Christmas.

What was I thinking? I’ve pretty much mastered Nestlé Toll House refrigerated cookie dough, but even that has taken me years. The couple of times I’ve tried to make cookies from scratch, it’s not been a pretty sight. But what kind of example would I be setting for my daughter if I refused the challenge? She’d think I was a bad cook (which is more or less true, unless I REALLY concentrate hard). She’d think I was a heartless party-pooper. She’d think I was a scrooge.

We have a responsibility as parents to teach our children to try, try again. To aim for the stars. To be the Little Engine That Could. To attempt to do things outside of their comfort zones. But we also have to balance those lofty goals with one that is perhaps the most important of all: to avoid giving other people food poisoning. If I’ve successfully made holiday cookies by the end of December, you can be sure I’ll report on it and include accompanying photos. If I fail in my mission, or wimp out, this will be the last you hear on the subject. To be continued…maybe.

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