Baking with grandchildren sounds like a Pinterest worthy, picturesque, memory to make. Aqui, I need to be honest. I will not sugar coat my experiences. Brace yourself as I share some pretty gruesome realidades of my cookie baking experiences with my grandkids and the things I learned. It will shatter that beautiful image of sweet grandmas patiently and lovingly flouring the counter top and guiding their quiet and content grandchild as he cuts his gingerbread man with cookie cutters. Primero, I need to be very clear that I am not a sweet grandma. I am a strong latina abuela and while I do not reach for the chancla, they know I still am flexible enough to do so.
I had avoided making cookies with my nietas almost completely and I was feeling rested. I did have a real close call that first weekend of December when I was thinking about my flaco and decided to make him some gingersnap cookies. Fijate, not just any recipe, but his grammys recipe. My granddaughters happened to be visiting and Nevaeh, the middle nieta says she “loves” to watch me cooking or in this case baking. Oh oh! I pushed away that little hint. Pero, Rachel, my youngest granddaughter loves to help and is quick to offer. Hijole! I made my corazon duro and said no to her when she sweetly asked if she could help. Por supuesto that I had a good reason. Apa would be home soon and he would be tired and I needed to hurry up, not waste time so that I could fill the cookie jar. Yikes, I feel the indignation still, “waste time?” Really Rosalba? I caved and Rachel was ready. I allowed her and Jeremiah, my 3 year old grandson to cut one cookie, mission accomplished. I sent them away to play while I finished making cookies, and of course shared some of apas cookies with my grandkids. Come on! I’m not that cruel. That should have taken the weight of “Cookies with Ama” off my back. Pero no! It was still heavy. I had to be strong and ignore it.
I was so close to the closing of the season and I was finding quiet time in my days at home. I was finished with my own baking, the shopping and wrapping was complete. Heavy cooking wouldn’t start for 2 days. Stillness is a rare phenomenon in our home, I was finding that at Christmas time the house shouldn’t be tan calladita, it needed to be bursting with activity, like baking cookies with ama. Pero, with flu season in full force I hadn’t seen my grandkids very much. They needed to rest and I really didn’t need the chaos. It was too late anyway, o no? There were still five days to go. Did I really want that much chaos? I called my daughter in law Denise. In an instant, we had a date, and before I knew what I was doing I texted my daughter Daniella to invite my grandsons. HIJOLE!! The whole brood was coming over to make cookies with ama. Immediatamente my heart rate increased.
I had to prepare.I knew what was ahead. I had to avoid certain ‘impatience’ triggers. I was already hearing the girls planning.
Mari: D’ma can I break the eggs into the bowl?
Ama: come on Mari, the shell isn’t that hard to break.
Nevaeh: Yes, and I’ll go second D’ma
Ama: Ok Nevaeh, you don’t have to be that slow, just be careful not to spill the sugar
Rachel: Nevaeh, why do I have to be last? I need to do something too D’ma
Ama: I know Rachel. You’ll add the flour. Hurry Nevaeh!
I know this is going to sound bien dramatica, but I didn’t want the cookie ghosts of Christmas past to ruin our day. I’m believing God for the wisdom that he offers so that I can demonstrate honest patience. I believe that’s a calm voice and a slow reaction to mishaps when sharing experiences with my grandchildren.
I shook that conversation out of my head and asked God to help me and give me wisdom. I’m believing in God to be able to demonstrate honest patience. A calm voice, hay si! and a slow reaction to mishaps when sharing experiences with my grandchildren is a good start.
Nope. I made all the dough the night before.
Christmas Cookies With Ama
The boys were early and the girls were late. Like primos do, they played hard outside while I grabbed the cookie cutters and my whits together and adjusted my hearing to ‘appreciate’ the clamor of my inheritance. When I was ready we called them all in to wash their hands. From underneath their nails all the way up to their elbows they were supposed to wash. After inspection and some rewashings we got to work. I distributed little round balls of dough and they attempted to roll it out and cut cookies. Here’s how it sounded.
Braye: How many will we get to make?
Ama: You can make a few, but you must share your cookies with someone.
Rachel: I need some dough D’ma
Ama: here Rachel, add a pinch of flour to the surface so it won’t stick.
Nevaeh: I’m ready to cut D’ma
Braye: Me and Jeremiah are going to share this cutting board. How are we going to roll it out?
Jeremiah: It’s mine.
Braye: No, were sharing.
Ama: Jeremiah you better be nice!
Daniella: I’m getting some plastic cups for you to use Braye.
Rachel: Look D’ma! I made a hand!
Ama: good job Rachel.
Nevaeh: Can you put my cookie on the cookie sheet D’ma
Ama: Braye, you’re rolling it too thin, that’s why it keeps falling apart.
Rachel: Look D’ma I made a glove!
Ama: Good Job Rachel
Judah: I’m done.
Daniella: Do you want more dough to cut another cookie.
Mari: Ok, I’m ready (did I mention that they have a new puppy who needed her undivided attention first?) Can I make cookies tia Lala?
Daniella: Yes, mom, did you turn on the oven?
Judah: I’m done.
I was done too, but that was the first hurdle. Then they proceeded to decorate their cookies before baking. I had some simple instructions: Use your finger and dab butter on your cookie so that the sprinkles can stick. One rule: Do not use too much sprinkles on your cookie. In one ear and out the other as fast as it came in.
Daniella: Aaaahhh! The noise! I can’t hear! (she was shaking her head)
Ama: What did I get myself into again?!
Denise: I know! That’s why I don’t do this.
Ama: I think I’ll be done. No more making cookies with my grandchildren. This is crazy!
Emery: (who happened to be there for something else) What?! You can’t stop ma, you’ve got more grandchildren coming.
That entire cookie cutting, decorating and baking session lasted all of 30 minutes. Like a whirlwind, it happened and all was calm again. The kids went out to play while they waited for their cookies and I had survived Christmas cookies with my grandkids.
Like I said, I’m not gonna lie, it was rough! Cookies with the kids for me, is a terrible and wonderful experience and every year is the last year. I always say that I’ll never make them again, until Christmas comes around again.
Through the years I’ve grown quite fond of Christmas. Le doy Gracias a Dios for the years he’s given me and the beautiful experiences, even the cookies with my grandkids.
God bless you all and remember on this Noche Buena, that Jesus is why we celebrate, CHRISTmas, I’m so grateful for his daily reminders of his love and especially thankful that I do have Jesus in my life long after Christmas has passed and through the year.