19 Oct 2010

A different mould

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.


  1. Oooh, they look delicious Jemimah! Well done. My girls love decorating biscuits too, and they're having to get very creative in finding ways to decorate without food colouring due allergies.
    Good on you Jeanne, you're a great Mum. You have reminded me that we need to bring up our children in the right way, but allow for their different tastes and preferences.

  2. Wow..they do look so yummy! Very beautifully expressed as the mother of Jemimah. I totally agree with you as a parent. It is a great thing to be able to trust God with their hearts. xxx

  3. How beautifully the pictures in this post reflect Jemimah's personality! It can be hard raising our children with such different personalities to our own. It is also amazing when they get older how much of ourselves we see reflected there despite that.
    I loved this post Jeanne.

  4. Tell me about it! *sigh* Star is like me in lots & lots of ways ~ but not necessarily a good combination because, why should the child do math when she's not good at it? I never did despite numerous people's best efforts, & so I understand the futlity when the will is defiantly oppossed & I don't think it important anyway. On the other hand I so appreciate & understand her creativity & encourage her. Then there are all the ways she is different that comflumux me because she is & she isn't like me & we need to negotiate a compromise because she's not quite big enough or old enough [nearly but not quite] to decide for herself. Yet even when she is being her most difficult [& Star can be very difficult indeed {just like her mama, but you didn't hear that from me!}] I can see all the beautiful ways in which God is working in her heart & life & it gives me great hope that the end result will be very fine indeed, very fine! ☺

  5. Loved the colourful pictures of the very colourful Jemimah:) and I loved the last part of the post that came straight from your heart too! so true, so true.....

  6. I have always loved the uncork mix, in particular Anzav biscuits and ginger biscuits. But I completely agree with you about pav, that is great uncooked!

    My son loves cooking and trying out new foods/recipes so on the weekend he wanted me to make a new recipe and he was my taster, he loved it and he said to me afterwards "we must doing cooking again next weekend". I was so touched. He is almost 23 and stills cooking with his mother. I think mothers often forget to teach their sons to cook and love cooking, it is so important. You never know when they will need these skills

  7. Ps sorry for the spelling mistakes! I didn't mean uncorked, rather uncooked!!

  8. Lovely and thoughtful post, Jeanne. (Loved the cookie photos, too! Ahem, I mean "biscuit," of course.) I'm more of a dough and batter girl, myself.

    I loved your emphasis on training Jemimah up in the way she should go, not the way you would go; and I also appreciated your thoughts on helping her to be a better her, not a mini you. I really need to keep this in mind with my own, who are both quite different from me in different ways, but like me in others.

  9. Oh, I completely missed all those good moral lessons the others were commenting on. I'm sorry, but I couldn't get past the wonder and joy of discovering another soul capable of eating a sensible amount of uncooked pav.

    Seriously, uncooked is infinitely more appealing to me than the cooked version (however yummy), and, well, it's just good not to be alone :P

    Beyondbluestockings X

  10. Wow! I loved this post Jeanne. So much in this......

    Would you mind if I shared this on my 'Princess Warrior Lessons' page on facebook? I love sharing other princess warrior lessons. :)

  11. Thanks, Jo.

    It would be an honour!

  12. Heck I still eat more cookie dough than ever gets baked and the kids always help me!!!


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