Practically Parenting Blog

Do You Know The Muffin Pan?

The Muffin Pan

The Muffin Pan

The other day I was inspired to make muffins.  I’d like to say it was out of the goodness of my maternal heart, knowing how much my little munchkins would enjoy a delicious, warm, fresh-baked treat…  Actually, that sounds pretty good.  Let’s just pretend that’s the case and it had nothing to do with the fact the mix was about to expire.

I poured out the contents, cracked the eggs, added the water, and started getting a little excited that I wasn’t just pulling out yet another box of animal crackers to hold them over until dinner.  Wow, this was turning out to be a win-win all around.  I was feeling good and the kids were going to have a healthy snack.  Bake on!

The next step was to line the muffin pan.  I was going to just use a little olive oil to grease up the tin, but remembered I had these new sparkly cupcake liners that would be the icing on the cake, er, muffins.  I just knew the kids would appreciate the extra touch and in their admiration of the glittery liners, they might even be distracted from the fact that the muffins were different sizes.  There is a reason I don’t bake, after all.

Back up.  Different sizes.  Hm.  DIFFERENT SIZES!!!  I immediately envisioned the delivery of the muffins to my cherubs.  It would go something like this:

Me:  “Here, kids.  I baked you some scrumptious, blueberry goods.”

Eliza:  “Thanks, Mom!”  <Pause.>  “Can I have THAT one?”

Will:  “NO!  That’s the one I wanted!”

Ryan:  “That’s the biggest one!  I want the biggest one!  I want the biggest one!”

Then, it would all end in tears.  This was not acceptable.  I resigned myself the fact that I would have to meticulously measure all twelve scoops into the muffin pan to avoid the above confabulation and ensure a peaceful snack time experience with my children.  I went back to lining the pan.  As I placed each cupcake liner in, I realized they were different colors.

Wait.  Different colors.  Hm.  DIFFERENT COLORS!!!!  Good grief.  Now, it won’t just be about the biggest muffin.  It will be about who gets purple, pink, orange, blue, yellow, black, red, green, brown, indigo, silver or gold.  I could see it now and It would go something like this:

Me:  “Here, kids.  I baked you these mouth-watering, perfectly measured, identically sized muffins!”

Eliza:  “Thanks, Mom!”  <Pause.>  “Can I have THAT one?”

Will:  “NO!  That’s the one I wanted!”

Ryan:  “That’s the blue one!  I want the blue one!  I want the blue one!”

This time it would definitely end in tears.  Mine!

The oven beeped and quickly brought me back to the present moment.  It was pre-heated and ready to turn the gooey batter into the golden brown, titillating treat I had fancied at the start of this whole calamity.  However, what started off as a simple, well-intentioned affair was turning into a fairly extensive mental debate.

Do I let them work it out on their own?  Do I go out of my way to make it fair to avoid the hassle?  Do I all together scrap it and deal with it another time?  Do I just lay down the law and tell them how it’s going to be?  Do I experiment and see how each child will react to each potential conflict or sense of unfairness?  Do I bargain with them?  Do I forewarn them and threaten consequences if anyone complains?  Do I just eat all the muffins myself?  They were all outside busy playing anyway!

Sound absolutely ridiculous?  Border-line mommy insanity?  I’ll admit I felt like I was losing my mind….  OVER MUFFINS.  I paused, reflected quietly (while licking the spoon, of course), and realized that I actually have these kinds of conversations with myself on a daily basis.  Not because I’m crazy or because my children are poorly behaved, but because I’m a mom.  These are the kinds of things that happen when you become a parent that no one can ever really warn you about or explain ahead of time.  You figure it out as you go.  I have to choose where to place my energy and what lessons might be particularly important that day.  Kids are kids and they live fully in every single moment, which means muffins are a big deal.  That’s because unequal, rainbow colored muffins present an opportunity to learn about how sometimes things aren’t always equal, sometimes you get what you want, sometimes you don’t, and tasty treats come in all sizes and shapes.

By the way, on that day I decided I’d scrap the muffin liners.  Not because I wanted to avoid the conflict or cater to my kids, but because I decided peeling the muffin liners causes crumbs to fly even further distances than just eating them plain.  I already ran the vacuum earlier that day and YOU are crazy if you think I was going to run that thing more than once in 24 hours.  However, I didn’t painstakingly measure the batter (can’t believe I entertained that thought even for a second) and decided the kids would just have to deal with whatever muffin came their way.  I was just going to blame it on the Muffin Pan anyway.  You know the one, right?






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