And I Wonder Why I Don’t Get More Done
I had recently been thinking about life with 3 kiddos vs. 1 little needling. Yes, there’s more food and laundry and doctor visits and chauffeuring and night waking but the older ones can do a few things for themselves, and the best is that they have built-in playmates to keep each other occupied.
All this to say that, while life has been extra busy for our family the past two weeks, I still felt as though everything was (relatively) smooth. Maybe that’s why when raspberries went on a crazy-good sale recently, I bought a bunch, looked up raspberry recipes, and decided to try my hand at freezer jam. Maybe I just wanted to channel Ma Ingalls? I don’t know, but somehow I let the kids know that this little project was happening, and naturally they wanted to help. Grace had the day off from school, the recipe was simple, and I figured, why not?
It will be fun, I thought. The kids will love helping, I thought.
I sorted out the mushy/moldy raspberries, washed the good ones, and then let the big girls help measure sugar into a bowl while Gemma chased crumbs and pushed chairs around. The girls were perched on a bar stool so they could reach the bowl easily, but Sophie grew impatient each time I turned to grab the next carton of berries to mash. She can climb up the bar stools, but every time I turned away she whined to be helped down, because what goes up doesn’t really know how to get down yet. When I reassured her that yes, I did hear her, and yes, she could help more if she could just wait a second, she was pacified for a few beats until it all started over.
Around this time I happened to glance over from where I was supervising the big girls’ berry mashing party to see that Gemma had opened the cabinet that hides the trash container to find a bunch of mushy raspberries on top, (over)ripe for the snacking on. She had smushed berries on her face and hands, so I grabbed her hands before she could smear it anywhere else on her person (or mine) while asking Grace to please quickly!! grab me a napkin and hurry! Instead of fetching one from the table behind her, she ran down the hall (still not sure why) while Gemma protested having her hands immobilized. When Grace finally came back and I got Gemma cleaned up, I found Sophie licking her fingers, happily sampling the giant bowl filled with sugar in front of her.
I turned back to see Gemma had gone right back to dumpster dive for more moldy berries, so I pulled out the garbage bag from the container to take outside. Grace helpfully volunteered to put a new bag in for me, and when I came back thirty seconds later, I saw Gemma had made herself at home in the cupboard where the garbage normally is. Luckily, I spotted her before she spotted the just-in-case mouse trap under there.
All I could think was, “THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T DO THINGS.” Not really, but you get me. Next time I try something like this, maybe I’ll think to find some baby-proof cabinet locks first. At least the jam got made, and the girls will love eating it (regardless of taste) because of how much they loved helping to make it.