Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Story of the Little Red Hen (as it may have happened in a house like ours)

"I am going to make some bread," said Mama Hen.
"O-ray!" yelled Little Chick. (Because O-ray was the way Little Chick said Hooray.) "A-cookie! A-cookie! A-cookie!" Little Chick wasn't really thinking of cookies (at least Mama Hen didn't think so.) It's just that that's the way Little Chick said the word cooking.
"Oh no," thought Mama Hen. "I guess Little Chick wants to make bread too." So Mama Hen girded up her courage, took a draught of patience and began. "The first thing we need to do, Little Chick, is put this yeast and sugar is some hot milk and water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Mama Hen heated the liquid, she poured the liquid in the bowl, she added the sugar and yeast, gave it a quick stir and left the room. When she came back to the kitchen, Mama Hen soon learned that Little Chick didn't give a hill of beans of care about letting the yeast sit. No, he had dragged (or is it drug?) a chair over to the counter and was happily stirring the mixture in the bowl. Little granules of yeast littered the counter where they had dropped off his spoon.
"Dang it, Little Chick! Why can't you just listen to Mama?" Mama Hen bewailed. But then she thought of all those conference talks she has listened to about patience and about helping young children learn to work. She counted to three, took a deep breath, and said (very calmly), "Little Chick, if you are going to help Mama you need to follow directions. Now, do you want to help?" Little Chick responded "A-cookie! A-cookie!" which Mama Hen took to mean, "Yes I do. But no promises about my behavior."
Mama Hen tried to be organized and clear so that Little Chick would know what to do. "The next thing we need to do, Little Chick, is add a few things to the yeast. First thing is an egg." Mama Hen pulled the egg out of the fridge, cracked the shell, and added it to the yeast mixture. Little Chick promptly stuck his spoon into the bowl and began to stir. When Mama Hen yelled (none too calmly) "Not yet, Little Chick!" he promptly pulled it back out again and clenched it in his other fist. "Just what I need! Salmonella!" whined Mama Hen. But then she reassessed the situation (as any good mother does) and realized that the whole thing was really her fault. Why had she shouted in the first place? Was he really doing anything to mess up the bread? No! She yelled for no reason! She was always doing things like that! She was a terrible mother! She shouldn't be allowed to have Little Chick! Let alone make bread. And so, practically in tears, she picked up Little Chick and washed his hands all the while kissing his cheek.
When Mama Hen felt satisfied that all traces of Salmonella had been washed down the sink, she put Little Chick down and very, very calmly said, "Now we're going to add the shortening and salt. You can stir." Little Chick happily sloshed the salt around in the liquid. Then Mama added a cup of flour. On the first stir, Little Chick threw white clouds in the air. So Mama Hen said, "Let Mama have a quick turn, Little Chick." When she tried to take the spoon from Little Chick, he freaked out and tried to push her away. Mama Hen's self inflicted guilt trip of 2 minutes ago vanished away. "Do not push Mama," she said very sternly. And she took the spoon away and stirred in the flour all the while rolling her eyes at Little Chick's tantrum. Of course, Mama Hen's "quick" turn turned into a longer turn because she needed to add 2 more cups of flour. But by then Little Chick had calmed down and was happily watching her stir.
Next it was time to knead the dough, and this was too new and exciting for Little Chick to just happily watch the action. Mama Hen sprinkled the flour on the counter. Little Chick reached over and rubbed it around just a little. No harm, no foul so Mama Hen let him spread it around. Mama Hen slapped the dough down on the flour and started to knead. But oh no! Her arms were blocking Little Chick's view! He kept pulling on her left arm so that he could see the movement better. Once he got it down, he wanted to join in. So the action went something like this: Knead, like poke, turn, little poke, fold, little poke, knead, little poke, stop and add more flour, hand swipe across the flour, repeat whole sequence. While it WAS annoying it wasn't cause for another fight. However, in all honesty Mama Hen thought, "The next time I'm dumb enough to make bread, I'll also be dumb enough to do it in the middle of the night while Little Chick is asleep."

The End

And that is how it could happen in a house like ours.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

i probably would have thrown my very own temper tantrum! you are SO patient, girly.