Pushing strawberries through a cheesecloth to make strawberry mousse
I hate playing. I try to pretend that I’m enjoying building the block tower or tracing hands, but I’ve never been great at hiding my boredom. I know that I make a pretty horrible playmate for my nearly 3-year-old.
My husband and I are dividing the days with our joyous, spunky Rosie so that we can continue our work without our usual full-time daycare. He has always taken the lionshare of caregiving and is a brilliant, kind and compassionate papa. While he teaches part-time, I now have swatches of one-on-one time with my daughter that I didn't have previously.
Rosie with ingredients for marinara sauce
The first few days of being at home, I did my best to be good at playing and to hide the fact that I felt like my brain was dripping out of my ears. And then I changed strategies and looked for activities that I wanted to do. I know, I am exposing my ineptitude as a mother — and I imagine most of you reading this are far better at coloring with your little ones and getting joy from their joy. You know, you’re good mothers, and many of you appear to me to be quite unaware of how selfless and lovely you are with your children. It is only when you meet me at a playgroup, still talking about spreadsheets, with my daughter in mismatched socks, that you catch the reflection of your skill in my lack of skill. You make the world go 'round.
In the past week Rosie and I have made bird feeders, planted a whole garden of vegetables and flowers in tiny windowsill containers, made sourdough starter, and baked popovers, strawberry mousse, slow simmering marinara and banana ice cream. I have a favorite cookbook: Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet
that my previous, fast-paced life did not accommodate. Part of the fun and challenge is getting Rosie to do most of the steps of each French recipe, while I Google terms that I have never heard before and add things like whole vanilla beans and a sieve to my shopping list. The kitchen gets destroyed each time and the outcomes are sometimes magnificent and sometimes completely inedible. It is pure joy, and something I will continue doing when COVID-19 has passed.