Last weekend, my son asked me to make cranberry orange muffins for him because they were going to be doing standardized testing all week at school and could take a special snack to have while filling in little ovals with #2 pencils.
Well, he didn’t say the ovals and pencil part but I remember that all too well and figured that he deserved muffins.
So, late Sunday, I toiled away making cranberry muffins without a care in the world because I knew I didn’t have to go to work the next day. This is a luxury afforded me now that I quit my job to stay home and write.
The next morning, as I packed lunches, I tucked a muffin into my son’s lunch box and then told him to remember it was in there when snack time came because he has the memory of a gnat.
Miguel: Do you have any of those wax paper bags like at the bakery?
Me: No. Why?
Miguel: Well, muffins taste better when they come in those little bags.
Me: Are you trying to pass off my homemade muffin as a bakery muffin? Are you embarrassed by my muffin?
Miguel: NO! I just really like eating muffins out of those little bags.
Throughout the day, though, I kept thinking about our conversation and wondering if homemade baked goods were no longer cool. I mean, kids his age have iPhones now – maybe they get their muffins from Starbucks.
When he got home, I asked him how testing went and he said, “Great!” because my kid is weird and enjoys standardized tests.
Me: Did you remember to have your muffin for snack?
Miguel: Yeah and it was SO good!
Me: What did other kids bring?
(I was looking for ideas, not validation. I promise.)
Miguel: It was crazy, mom! Everyone was jealous because I had a homemade muffin and they kept trying to trade for it but nobody had anything I wanted!
And it turns out that my kid isn’t the only weird one in this family because I felt like I had just received “Exceeds Expectations” on a performance evaluation.
My mother was a single mom for most of my childhood. She worked long hours and wasn’t the kind of mom who came to school parties with cupcakes and I never went to school with anything homemade in my lunch. This was not some great tragedy, especially because I was flush in Hostess Ding Dongs.
My partner and I have always worked and we’ve done our share of cupcakes and homemade brownies for our kids’ birthday celebrations at school but I had never baked anything for the kids to take to school “just because” until those muffins. It felt like such a privilege to be able to do it but I also hope my kids never take that kind of thing for granted. I worry they might.
Sometimes, if you give a kid a muffin, you are a hero for the day and then, sometimes, the kids expects more…like homemade crepes for dinner.
Yeah…don’t ask what I made for dinner last night.