It’s 2pm here, Cadel is napping, and I’m having a hot cocoa break and sitting down in front of the computer–a rare occurrence these days. I’m reeling from a stressful experience with my babysitting trade friend, whose turn it was to take Cadel this morning. We had a misunderstanding about what time I’d be picking Cadel up–she thought I’d be coming later and I thought earlier, as we’d previously agreed. Nevertheless, I could not get ahold of her after 7 phone calls and numerous texts, and she had taken them to a park near the house, so I spent a good half hour running frantically around this park (the biggest in Seattle, more like a forest with paths than a typical park) not finding them and getting more and more worried, imagining worst-case scenarios in which all of them had been abducted or hit by a car or if in fact my so-called friend was in actuality a crazed baby kidnapper who had finally made her move….until she finally returned my calls, completely oblivious of the stress she’d caused, and accusing me of being “too attached” to my child. She even pulled out one of those phrases sometimes used by moms with mulitple children: “well, he’s your first…” (read: so you’re needlessly clingy and since I have three children I’d pretty much trust a pack of wild wolves with my third, as long as it gets me a moment of peace and quiet). Well lady, I’m about to have multiple children too and I sure as hell will always care to know where each one is. Long story short, our babysitting trade is no longer, and I’m still shaking, trying to calm myself and mend my wounded psyche over a cup of hot cocoa. I could really use a nap but it’s once again been too long since I said hello here.
Let’s start with hot cocoa: I developed this recipe to serve to Cadel and a playmate one day but have since taken to enjoying it myself as well when a hot, caffeine-free (or nearly so) drink is needed.
I love hot chocolate also, of course, but that’s a different creature that takes a bit more time and attention to make. This hot cocoa is really satisfying and can be ready in about a minute if you’re quick. Here’s how:
Best Fastest Hot Cocoa
Take 1 tsp. sugar (I’m currently using a brown muscovado sugar that is so delicious) and 1 tsp cocoa powder (raw, dutch processed, natural, whatever you like, or have) and mix with 1.5 or 2 Tbs water in a mug. Microwave for about 25 seconds, until quite hot, then stir or swirl around to be sure the sugar is dissolved and there are no lumps of cocoa powder remaining. Add 4 oz (1/2 cup) whole milk or your preferred non-dairy alternative and microwave again until hot. This take about 40 seconds more in my microwave, but I think it’s from maybe 1990 so yours may differ. That’s it! Top with extra cocoa powder or a marshmallow or a sprinkling of cinnamon, if you like. Double to make two servings, or one really big cup of hot cocoa. If you prefer not to use a microwave, you can of course use a saucepan on the stove, which I like to do if my need is not urgent (like, if you can bear to wait a minute longer).
Today was not that day, so I microwaved mine and here I am. We’ve been busy, but who isn’t? I’m reminded of a line from an otherwise very forgettable Jennifer Aniston film whose title I can’t even recall: “Life is in session.” Travis and I smile as some nights before we fall asleep as we jokingly exchange this line, a reminder of a carefree night spent watching a silly movie but also the truth of the Hollywood-ified statement. Amid all the scrambling around to here and there, checking things off to-do lists, managing the daily evolving drama of family life, there is something bigger happening all the while. Merging the details with the something bigger is the challenge. I am often bogged down in the details; but I think being bogged down sometimes is a necessary step toward realizing priorities–what is truly important today, for my family, myself, my world. The devil’s in the details huh–but surely God is in there too?
I’m spending time searching for a good babysitter (finally broke down and signed up for one of the online sitter sites), doing small chores to prepare our house for the new baby–sorting through baby clothes and digging out stacks of teeny tiny diapers, looking for new storage drawers to fit into a closet or under a crib, organizing the spice cabinet (that is one thing that this nester just can’t let go)–scheduling prenatal check-ups (so many near the end!) and vaccine shots for Cadel and for me. Now more a full time mom than ever, I’m immersing myself in domestic activities that I actually do really enjoy, however devalued they may be by today’s culture: bread-baking, yogurt-making, broth-boiling, meal-preparing. Things that many people pay others to do. (Recently I received an email from a fellow mom asking if I knew of anyone who cleaned houses as she’d like to find someone–ha! I was in the midst of stripping our bed because Cadel had just peed all over it). But I do feel it is a blessing to be able to do these things myself. (I truly wouldn’t want anyone else washing my peed-on sheets). I’m once again feeling solace in the simplicity of new life, the back-to-basics down-to-earth thinking and working that a baby demands. Hold me, feed me, love me. A mother’s work. We all need it.