The girls who needed mama, but not really.

Gracie is at such a fun age. No, really! Sure she has her moments – any tween would – but she’s incredibly fun and smart and killin’ the bit about finding her own groove.

And Gracie-girl has always been independent. She’ll want me to double check on things (“Mom, is the stove set to the right temperature?” “Mom, does this look good?” “Mom, look how I rearranged my room – is that thing there put together the right way?” “How long do I heat this up for?”), even if she has the gist of it down and is really just lacking confidence. And I get it. I do. Baby bird is getting ready to fly on her own and wants to make sure she has the mechanics down. I tried to remember if I was quite the same way when I was a kid, but mostly, I just remember the bit from right after this stage, like making secret cookie dough when I was home sick and my mom was at work.

Except then it happened, and all of a sudden. Last week, one night after dinner, Gracie asked if she could make cookies. “Uh….sure?” I answered. She got out one of the molasses cookie mixes (woohoo – it’s gone) and got to work. Not to be left out, Bee got out my recipe for chocolate chip cookies and make those from scratch, too. (Only she required a bit more supervision.) Gracie all of a sudden had cookies from her batch. Just bam! Cookies. Without her mama. She didn’t ask me for help with the stove, or with watching the cookies, or with spatula-ing them off! She killed it.

Last night I went out for a walk with Corrie, and Jeff decided to grab a beer with a friend at about the same time. Just before I left, Gracie complained (rather erroneously) that there was nothing to eat for dessert. “Can I make these cinnamon rolls?” she asked, holding out the tube she found in the vegetable crisper. “I don’t care,” I replied, happy that she wasn’t intimidated by cooking for herself. And so she did. Thirteen minutes later, we had slightly burnt (but still delicious) cinnamon rolls.

After Gracie frosted her freshly baked dessert, Bee asked if there was more icing. I thought I had one more cream cheese frosting, but alas. “Can I make frosting with confectionary sugar?” she asked, just as I was about to go out the door. “Uh…” I started, not really sure how to react. “You don’t care that I’ll be gone?” She didn’t. “You’ll have to look it up on my computer,” I warned. She didn’t care. And so Bee made her tasty, tasty butter cream, double-sugar frosting. With butter. With beaters. The last one made my eyebrows shoot up when I got back. “You used beaters?!” I asked. “Yeah,” Bee answered nonchalantly. “That’s what the recipe said to do. Oh, and vanilla extract!” But I was still stuck on beaters. “And you got the beater part out of the hand mixer okay?” Bee just looked at the beaters in the sink before answering the obvious, “Uh, yeah?” Well, okay, kiddo.

Independent kids are the way to go, folks. They might make you worry about burning their hands or making a mess, but they feed you snacks when you get back from your walk, and so that’s all right.

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