Worth the mess

Isabelle and I made a pie tonight. Correction: I made a pie; Isabelle made a mess. This is one of my biggest struggles right now in parenting a 2-year-old. She’s eager to help and wants to do EVERYTHING by herself, even stuff she’s not supposed to. Like give her little brother his medicine, or use scissors to open a package.

While I gathered the ingredients for the crust, she dived right in, dipping the 1 cup measurer that I needed for the flour in the shortening. After I measured the flour, she dumped half of the 1/4 cup on her chair, covering the chair pad and herself. As she stirred the flour and salt, I wondered if I could make a crustless pie, just in case the rest of the flour ended up on the floor as well.

She let me let her “help” with the pastry blender, then insisted on having her own fork to stir as I added the water. She kept asking if she could taste it, and despite my repeated “no” answers, I’m pretty sure she sneaked a few bites.

When it came time to pick through the berries, there was no sneaking involved. If she ate one blackberry, she ate 12. “Mommy, I need another one,” she said, over and over again. I relented. Maybe we should have had more for supper than salad and toast with peanut butter. She helped stir the sugar mixture into the berries. The recipe said “gently stir.” We didn’t quite achieve “gently” but most of the berries still look like berries, so I guess that’s a success.

She threw a fit when I wouldn’t let her help cut the lattice strips.  I had to draw the line somewhere. I’d love to be able to tell you that I patiently instructed my daughter in the ways of pie making and that we had a lovely mother-daughter bonding moment because of it. In reality, I was rushed, frustrated and impatient.

And I was reminded again how far I am from treating my daughter like God treats me. I insist on doing life my own way, on “helping” Him accomplish His will in my life. And I make a terrible mess of things. Yet He cleans up after me, or really, helps me to clean up my own mess, again and again. And He gives me more chances to work with Him on the work He is doing. He gives me so much grace, so much room to fail. Who am I to insist on perfection from a 2-year-old?

We’re taking the pie to dinner with friends tomorrow.

It looks great. Even if the taste doesn’t live up to the look, at least I’ll be able to tell them that Isabelle helped. And maybe, just maybe, that will do a little to build confidence in her.

And, Lord willing, it will lay the foundation for many mother-daughter bonding moments to come.

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One thought on “Worth the mess

  1. I always joke at work about how the things my two-year-old niece does are the same things the boys do, but it’s true. I have basically had this same scenario take place at work. I have to admit though, I am exceedingly less patient. I make the crust myself and tel the boys they can help ‘in a little bit.’ When doing this I really am just thinking about the lack of their cleanliness and the need for a sanitary work space when cooking, as well as speed and it just being simpler to do it by myself. This blog really gives me a slap in the face as a reminder of how important it is to empower others even in things like that and the confidence it can instill. I know when I have the boys make their own eggs in the morning they love it. It hope it also makes me stop and think about how much easier it would be for God to just do the things He wants instead of using me. This is especially true because I’m pretty sure most things in my life are just God preparing me and giving me confidence for something else.

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