When I was a child, my brother and I loved to bake. Mostly we'd make yo-yo bikkies or pav, but occasionally other recipes would be given a chance as well.
The reason that yo-yos and pavs were the favourites is because they had the best uncooked mixture. In the bikkie dough it was the custard powder; in the pav it was the vanilla. Yummo! There were times - quite regular times, in fact - when my brother and I would eat the whole mix and cook none of it. Then we'd suffer for our gluttony later, but never enough to stop us doing it again next time.
It is a bad habit that I've never quite grown out of, this eating of uncooked biscuit and cake mixture. Nowadays I'm a little more restrained, mostly because I am aware of just how many calories there are in an entire biscuit mixture and now understand the reason for the sore stomach, but I am still of the opinion that scraping the bowl is far more desirable than licking the beaters because not nearly enough cake mix adheres to those little iddy bits of metal. Besides, I always leave a good dollop in the bowl.
Jemimah is different. She too loves to bake. She's not adverse to a bit of mixture either, but the amount on a beater is fine. For her it is the final decoration that is the reward. Jemimah loves creating edible masterpieces. No decoration is too extravagant, too fussy, too kitsch. For her taste and sophistication mean nothing. It is the look of the biscuit that is important. More so even than its taste. She'll probably only eat one, after all. It is me who'll eat the rest.
It's not a bad arrangement we have going either. I reserve the right to use baking as a reward for good behaviour, and she lets me lick the bowl - and one of the beaters.
She's different from me, my little girl. Jemimah likes running and basketball and tennis. She loves the exhilaration of cycling fast and skiing and the feeling of the wind in her hair. She loves colour - pink, purple, turquoise. She loves being creative. Craft is her favourite activity, It is little wonder that she loves decorating biscuits - it is just a variation on the theme of her imaginative existence.
Jemimah is different from me in other ways as well. She is gregarious and loves to talk. She is bright and articulate. I am quieter, more restrained. She has an incredibly strong will and at times a real defiant streak. I am much more compliant and try hard to please. She can't say 'yes'; I can't say 'no'.
Sometimes these differences in personality are incredibly challenging for me as her mother. Sometimes I find myself trying to turn her into a mini me instead of a better her. A teddy bear instead of a crocodile perhaps, or a flower instead of a star.
It is my desire that my husband and I raise our daughter to love and fear the Lord. It is my duty to train her in his ways. But it should not be my role to control her, to make her love him no matter what. It is out of my hands anyway, this role that I find myself taking on. I have incredibly high aims for my daughter. I want her to be the best she can be. But I need to realise that her best may not be my best. I do not need to live vicariously through Jemimah to be satisfied, and nor will she be all that God designed her to be if I do.
So I encourage her creativity. I encourage her expressivity. I encourage her amazing imagination. I train her up in the way she should go. And I will leave the task of moulding her heart to the potter, in whose hands she can be shaped without being broken, and trust that he will make her exactly what he wanted her to be from the beginning.