Friday, May 13, 2011

Cooking - Oreo Pops and A Study in Patience

This week was Teacher Appreciation Week at Maya’s school. Since I was assigned snack duty for today, I had to put my dad’s birthday week aside for a couple hours and concentrate on someone else. Being a principal and all, he’s expected to understand.

(But I’m sure he doesn’t and is demanding his fair share at this very moment. Place this quote: “All I want is my fair share. All I want is what’s coming to me.” My father says it often.)

Anyways, my friend made a cute version of those oh-so-popular cake pops for her teacher appreciation treat at her son’s school. I was totally inspired.

And then I was immediately overwhelmed.

So I opted to do the lazy mom version of the cake pops. I call them Oreo pops. I skipped the whole damned cake baking process and just stuck an f-ing Oreo on an f-ing stick.

And even that was a lot of work…for me, that is.

You see, after you dip the Oreo into melted red candy, you must stand there and wait… and wait… and wait while the excess drips back into the bowl. It takes forever. And I’ve never been good at waiting. Just ask poor Maya.


I made these infamous cake pops for Maya’s fourth birthday and I nearly slit my wrists halfway through the 10-step process. First you bake a cake. You wait for it to cool. You mix it with frosting. You shape them into balls. You freeze the balls. You make the pops. You candy-coat the pops….I mean it goes on and on.

And then you eat the devil turds in two bites. It’s a masochistic ritual.

Drip….dripety drip…..drip drip dip.

Adding insult to injury, in the middle of my construction phase, Lincoln starts kicking off. He’s pushing me and crying and demanding I hold him.  So I try ignoring him (after screaming “Stop it!” forty times doesn’t work.)

Message received. And he has one of his own.

He pulls out his little wee-wee and pees on my feet.

Drip….drip…..splash on my bare feet and hardwood floor.

After Larry unemotionally cleans up the piss (like one cleans up after a puppy), he whisks the lad upstairs so I can finish the pops in semi-peace. Not complete peace because I can still hear the banshee wailing upstairs. And there’s no mental rest either because the anxiety has kicked in. Will they look ok? Will they taste ok? Can I finish in time to read stories? Will I mess this one up? Will Lincoln stop screaming? I’m a trembling mess over the bowl. But it’s helping the candy drip a little faster.


I decide I’m done with patience and start shaking that shit. I vigorously shake and shake. I shake it like I wanted to shake Lincoln after he peed on me. I shake it like I wanted to shake Maya when she wouldn’t eat her dinner. And I shake it like I wanted to shake Larry when he was 10 minutes late getting home.

And then that little bitch fell off the stick.

Back to the drip…..drip……………………………………….drip dip.

I’m wondering why I’m even doing this. Reminiscent of the paper flower project, I begin questioning the meaning of motherhood and life. Then, I suddenly remember why I find this crap so important.

It’s a flashback to my youth.

One year, when I was in fifth grade at my Catholic grammar school, they were holding a dinner fundraiser and had asked all the kids in my class to bring a flower centerpiece for each table. I don’t know if my mom got the memo or if I had failed to give my mom the memo, but – the morning of the fundraiser – I suddenly remembered that I needed those flowers.

There may or may not have been severe consequences for non-compliance but, if there were, my mom didn’t give a shit. It was my own fault for not telling her in time and there was nothing to be done about it. She was a working mother who had to help put dinner on the table and did not have time to spare.

Overachiever that I was, doing nothing was completely unacceptable to me. I had to bring in some flowers. What was I going to do?

Panicked, broke and without a driver’s license or car of my own, I made a quick decision.  I ran to my yard, grabbed the first flowers I saw, yanked them from the ground and shoved them in an old flowerpot.

It wasn’t pretty but it was something to turn in to my less-than-warm fifth grade teacher Ms. Villalobos.

My mom said nothing. She let me go about my business on my own. I took this as a good sign.

When I got to school, I handed my teacher the flowers and I’ll never forget the look on her face.

It was pure disgust.

“These are not flowers! These are weeds! Where did you get weeds? Why did you bring them to school? Did you not understand? Take these away!”

I was horrified. I didn’t know they were weeds. They were just flowers to me. I stared at the dirty, raggedy mess in my hands long and hard before I threw the whole thing in the trash. I vowed that I would never again forget the difference between a flower and a weed.

The rest of my fifth grade was a blur of humiliation and self-loathing. Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic but I’m telling you that day will never leave my memory.

And because of that day, I will never let my daughter or my son go to school with anything less than tulips or roses or adorable f-ing Oreo pops.

I’ve got real issues people. I know this.


When the pops are finally finished, I admire my art, my patience and my exercise in crafty mediocrity.

I feel a brief tinge of joy in my heart and revel in the warmness that seems to dim all evidence of toddler screeching.

I’m in my happy place. I hold this new moment up there with the other greatest times of my life. When I got married. When Maya was born. When Lincoln came home from CHOC’s NICU. When I found that extra French fry under my sandwich at Chili’s.

I smile, wipe that missed droplet of pee-pee off my leg and go to bed.


January Dawn said...

Oh God Michelle. As usual you had me in stitches. Beautiful Oreo pops. Just beautiful.

January Dawn said...

Hope you don't mind but I just shared this on my fb page. It was too funny not to.

Michelle said...

January -- Thanks! Feel free to share away.