I was woken up earlier than usual today by loud clucking from our chickens and decided they needed to be let out sooner rather than later. Since I was up and about I figured I’d start making a batch of my “famous” cookies so the kids could have some after school. Might even bring some in to share with my wife and her colleagues at work. I had already gotten a good start on the dough when my kids started to wake up and make their way to the kitchen. After my three year old daughter came bounding downstairs, singing happily, she became very excited to “help” me make the cookies. One of the many fun things I’ve enjoyed doing with my children as a Stay At Home Dad is to teach them about cooking and baking by involving them in the process. So, it was no surprise that she grabbed the stool and brought it over so that she could stand next to me at the counter where I had the mixer. She grabbed a measuring cup and scooped and poured the sugar, flour and oats into the mixing bowl at the appropriate times. What came next is our “secret ingredient” that makes my peanut butter-chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies so famously tasty. The mixing dance.
Today’s version started the moment my daughter turned on the mixer to start the beaters. She whipped around to face me, grabbed both my hands and started jumping and singing/shouting “MIXING MIXING MIXING MIXING!”. Even at 7:30 in the morning it’s more than enough to put a smile on your sleepy face. Then I realized that my 11 year old was watching us from the table while she ate her breakfast. She, too, had a huge smile on her face and then told her younger sister that she did that same dance when she was a little girl. It dawned on me that our “mixing dance” had become one of our family’s traditions without even thinking about it. It was something that I’ve done with each of the kids and they (apparently) remember it fondly.
If I remember correctly, the mixing dance started about a decade ago when I was baking with my kids and we had some 80s music blaring. If my daddy brain isn’t completely dead, I believe it was Chicago’s greatest hits playing (song: What Kind of Man Would I Be?). I may or may not have gone a little crazy dancing to the instrumental break while the mixer was running. I may or may not have done some fantastically awful white guy dance moves that proved that I. Can’t. Dance. But the kids loved it. In fact, they were crying at my ineptitude. And laughing. And asking for more. And so the mixing dance was born. Thank God that there is no video evidence of that event. (If you really need a visual cue, think of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine dances.)
So, back to the present. My three year old is my fifth kid to learn the fun of the mixing dance. I guess it took seeing her instinctively start dancing (with no prompting from me) combined with the words of my 11 year old for me to realize that the mixing dance is one of our unique family experiences that my kids will look upon fondly as they grow up. I can only hope that they will pass it on to their kids. What are some fun, silly and unique things that you do with your kids like our “mixing dance”?