February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day. It Is Today.

I don't know why, every Valentine's Day morning, I think it's a good idea to make heart-shaped pancakes. It seems like such a loving and maternal and "simple pleasures" thing to do, but actually pancakes are a hassle and a mess. As soon as I get started, I remember this.

Rob and William come into the kitchen and they're completely in my way every time I turn around, and the presence of hot pans and hot syrup is making me jittery with visions of emergency-room burns and permanent scarring, and they keep asking me questions when I'm distracted and trying to keep up with the bubbling pancakes and boiling syrup, and so I start speaking sharply to them and before long they've stopped their happy talking, and not long after that they go out into the living room, and there I am in the kitchen by myself, having ruined another potentially pleasant childhood memory. Why would I speak lovingly to them on Valentine's Day, when the real point of Valentine's Day is PERFECTLY-MADE PANCAKES?

There are drips of batter everywhere, and everything gets sticky with syrup, and meanwhile the children are asking for more and I'm standing there frustrated and starving with half a bowl of batter still left to pour. The twins are inexplicably crying and refusing to eat their pancakes, and their crying seems so ungrateful when I'm working so hard and getting so frustrated.

By the time all the pancakes are made, the children are done eating and I eat a couple of pancakes standing up at the counter before starting right in on the surprisingly large pile of dishes, feeling like the Valentine's Day Martyr, spreading her message of what true love is about: sacrifice and resentment, and loving gestures delivered with sharp words and a crabby attitude.

And as I've said, I do this every year. It would be more in my style of mothering to buy some pretty heart-shaped plastic bowls and serve breakfast cereal in them, and have heart-shaped paper napkins too, and we would all talk happily about what a fun surprise that was and whether they could use the bowls again later for soup, and I would say YES! and it would be a great treat. So why do I keep doing the pancakes? It doesn't matter how often I remind myself that we are all different kinds of mothers and we all have different strengths, I keep trying to work with other mothers' strengths: I try to be the one who whips up a picturesque and entertaining breakfast, when my strength is shopping for fun stuff. Next year, I'm buying the bowls.

Anyway.

Yesterday we talked about Valentine's Day Past, and today as promised we will talk about Valentine's Day Present. What are your plans? Anyone going on a hot date? Anyone staying in and getting a pizza? Anyone turning into a Kitchen Bitch over stupid pancakes?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ahhh...another mom like me!I used to try to be "one of those mom's" too (aka: Martha %$#@ Stewart!)I have learned to just be me instead. So, every year for Valentine's Day, I make spaghetti! This is great for 3 reasons: 1) It is red. 2) My whole family will eat it for dinner and 3) It is EASY! It is still a tradition and we enjoy it. Also, I buy the pre-cut-into-heart-shape cookies and my kids and I "bake" cookies. Then we frost them and eat them for dessert. Everyone is happy and everyone (including ME) gets to enjoy the day. That is our plan for dinner this evening too since we have 13 inches of snow and our county is under a snow emergency. We'll be staying in this year :)

Melissa said...

This morning my husband left boxes of chocolate out for me and my 3 girls (and a very sweet card for me) before he left for work, leaving me home with 3 kids on a snow day.
However, tonight I am making my husband take me to Chipotle, like I did last year, and buy me a big-ass burrito, chips and a beer. Cheap date, no? I will definitely put out even though I did last night (my call!)
I gave up on doing the cutesy things with my kids years ago (oldest is 16, youngest is 9) and yesterday took them to Target and said...Pick something out. Happy Valentine's Day kiddos.

Mommy Daisy said...

Ha, I just know that will be me in another year or so. For now the little kiddo can't eat pancakes, but I did buy him a little gorilla that wistles and says "You drive me bananas". His little smile made my day.

Anyway, you guessed it. We're staying home and ordering pizza. :D It's too snowy to go anywhere, and we can't really take the little man with us. I'm happy staying in. Maybe there will be a little more excitement after we get the baby put to bed later. ;)

Laura said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one having deluded Martha Stewart fantasies. Your post seriously cheered up my day!

We're also under snow emergency today. I'm sitting here, waiting in vain that the UPS guy will make it through the snow to deliver husband's v-day gift (cookies). Farkin weather!

Erica said...

Sheesh. You sound just like me. Why is it that we get our priorities so twisted sometimes?

We're not big on the whole V-Day thing. I'm lucky enough to have a marriage in which we demonstrate our love all the time, so a special day for it just seems forced.

My husband went out to the store and got me the things I needed to make us a chocolatey treat and we're going to watch "Happy Feet" after dinner. Somewhere in there, I'll be feeding and playing with Maddie.

Bunny said...

Oh honey, I am a kitchen bitch every night! I cook through gritted teeth that my husband dare unwind at the end of the day or dare to do his homework. But tonight we will do the same thing we do every night, eat dinner, put the kids to bed, watch TV and then snuggle for five minutes before deciding we're too tired. We lead a glamorous life.

Kara Marie said...

I bought myself some chocolate. :) Justin is making steak tonight, and there were flowers when I got home. It's a nice day.

Sorry about the pancakes! I made pancakes a month ago and I'm still finding dried sticky syrup on the table.

desperate housewife said...

Oh, the pressure to make pancakes! It's like, the official good mother breakfast somewhere in the back of everyone's mind, yet actually scrambled eggs are so much more nutritious and WAY EASIER! Even cereal, probably, is better. Esp. when eaten in heart shaped bowls.
You know the part where you said, "I always think I want to make pancakes, and then after I get started remember what a pain it is?" Or something to that effect, anyways? That is exactly the thought that always runs through my mind when I'm doing the stinkin' pancakes! Especially before we had a griddle, and I had to hover over every single one as though I were painstakingly hatching an egg. An egg that must be golden brown on each side but not runny in the middle. And then the loving pancake maker is the one who ends up starving, finishing that last bit of batter, and everyone else is gone by the time you get to eat. That's why eating breakfast out is the best way to go for family togetherness, in my opinion!

Anonymous said...

oh, i made my little girl toast for breakfast... i did however use a cookie cutter to make it into the shape of a heart and put some strawberry jam on it. it made her happy because the toast looked like a heart and it was easy to make with very little clean up.
we also got caught in the snow storm so we played in the snow this afternoon. (husband was home because he is a school teacher and school was closed!)
we also had spaghetti for dinner.... our chocolate cupcakes for dessert were a total disaster though. (i feel your pancake pain!) happy valentine's day!

Kelsey said...

My in-laws came over for dinner tonight. I cooked for everyone to make up for the fact that they spent their Valentine's evening babysitting so Matt and I could go to the movies. Then I came home and got right back on the computer to finish a grad school assignment. It was great to be out with Matt, but not exactly a romantic evening from beginning to end, as he's asleep and I'm still at the computer. That's how our life is these days, and we know it won't be like that forever. . .sigh.

Harper's only two. She got a couple of Valentine cards in the mail, and some candy she couldn't eat from a well-meaning great aunt. This morning I told her it was Valentine's Day and she said, "Oh, dat's gweat!" And that's about all the celebrating we did. I'm pretty sure she won't hold it against me.

Mrs. Who said...

I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying your blog! My children are grown (although I do have a fabulous grand-baby) but I pampered my husband with the previously mentioned cut out cookies yesterday. (with icing included in the package, how fabulous is that?) Don't stress yourself out trying to make the perfect meal for the kids. They won't remember it anyway! The WILL remember the love and the time you spend with them. You're doing a great job.

Black Sheeped said...

Swistle! I did a quick google search for "oven baked pancakes" and...they exist. They're called puffed pancakes, and you bake them. They might be easier, I don't know. Just a thought.

4andcounting said...

We had toast shaped like a heart and PB&J shaped like a heart (love cookie cutters). I cooked a yummy dinner, O.H. ate it alone as I was at work, and when I came home we watched TV and went to bed. My kids are begging to make sugar cookies today and I'm still trying to put them off. I don't like V-Day.

theflyingmum said...

OK, I'm a day late, but I actually had a fine Valentine's Day. That's right, just fine. I woke up, entered the kitchen, and approached the counter to find a card and wrapped gift. The gift looked suspiciously like a small box of See's candy and my heart sank a little because he KNOWS that I am trying to banish sugar from my life. I was relieved to find instead the book "A Walk in th Woods" by Bill Bryson, and further encouraged by the review on the back cover stating that "[Bryson] could write...about dryer lint or fever reducers and still make us laugh out loud." (Chicago Sun Times) The man knows me well.

Dynamita said...

Hi Swistle, I've recently become unemployed and am reading joyously through your archives. I hope you don't mind.

I just wanted to say that it surprises me that you don't make the pancakes a few days beforehand and freeze them, and then just warm them up in the toaster or oven. That way everybody enjoys the day and you get to be Swistle Stewart. Just an idea.

Dynamita said...

ARGH, just re read my comment and it came out wrong. What I wanted to say was that you are an expert baker-and-freezer for later and that's why I was surprised you weren't already doing it. Sorry if what I wrote before sounded offensive. (This is why I rarely comment on blogs)

Swistle said...

Ha ha! No, I read it right the first time! And also, I went, "...!" because that seems like a GREAT plan.

Dynamita said...

Whew!