It’s always amazes me how quickly children pick up activities that happen in their environment.
Although I can’t exactly say that I’m surprised that my now two year old girl Annabel has picked up the keen interest in baking. Mainly since from the early days of her life she watched me intently bake until I ran out of recipes in my cook books. This of course spiralled into an addiction of purchasing cookbooks to keep my creative mind ticking along with new challenges. As I write this.. it feels like I’m a borderline baking addict! Now I think of it, my record was baking something new every day for a fortnight. That, my friends could be an addiction. An addition to baking, needing a challenge outside of the kids or just an addiction to sugar! Either way, it definitely wasn’t good for the waistlines of myself, my partner, my friends and the neighbours. But I’ve got to say, it’s been a great icebreaker for meeting new friends and building relationships. After all, everyone LOVES cake!
Now looking back on it all its quite clear that the need to bake was necessary as a form of mental escapism from the unthankful challenges of having a new born scream at you… constantly. It would allow me to leave Annabel along to get some much needed sleep to develop. It also got me out and about with the kids, as there was no way I was going to sit in the house with the kids and devour a cake to myself. So out I would go, organising catch ups with my other stay-at-home friends and feed them my baking creations. I think that even while we sat there and demolished the cakes together we’d escape, even for a moment, just to enjoy some form of pure selfish indulgence. Their thanks was thanks enough to get me through the day of wading through nappies, constant outfit changes, cleaning vomit and Annabel screaming to the extent that made me feel helpless.
Now, I’m fully aware that this may make me sound like some kind of selfish ogre parent. But quite the contrary. It made me a better parent. It stopped me from being that helicopter parent that would constantly eagle eye Annabel. Of course I still would drop everything and tend to her needs when necessary. But when you have a child with silent reflux, there really isn’t much you can do than give them the necessary medication, snuggles and then divert their attention away from their pain. For us, baking did just that. Annabel would watch me intently as I ran around the kitchen, every now and again ‘kindly’ telling me she wanted the whisk or spatula I was holding. Fair game to her to. I cottoned on to this and bought double of my kitchen implements so that she could join in Daddy’s creative fun. She’d constanstly giggle at me, as like a ditz I’d drop everything, then turn it into some game of peek-a-boo! We both bonded over the distraction. For both of us, going in to meltdown was not an option..
So, at first it was a coping mechanism for Annabel and myself. But once we sorted her reflux, we both thoroughly enjoyed the baking challenges amongst all the other running around we did together. Then my little boy Lachlan came along and we didn’t bake for distraction, we continued to bake for enjoyment. Luckily Lachlan didn’t have reflux, he just came out as a completely happy little man just excited to be involved in what his Daddy and big sister were doing.
My advice to any parent (and I hate giving/receiving advice) would be to keep your hobbies and ambitions throughout every stage of being a parent. You never know how it will not only fulfil and inspire your life, but also your childs. A fully content parent is a good parent in every respect.
So, now there are three set of baking implements in our kitchen and I couldn’t be happier.
Here are some images of Annabel and I whipping up a storm, complete with the beautiful apron from our sponsor Red Porridge. Not long now until Lachlan will be walking and he can pop on his Red Porridge apron on and help out.