If you're a parent, then you know that one of the great joys of life is doing stuff that makes your kids happy. I mean squeal-out-loud happy. (Another great joy is when they finally go to bed at night and that's not at all contradictory, as many moms would agree.)
Max is a kid who gets extreme happiness out of seemingly small things, whether it's watching construction workers fix the roof on our house ("NEW ROOF!" he keeps telling me), coming home with a purple ballon from a birthday party or getting a Lightning McQueen shopping bag. (Hey, were you the one who left that on our doorstep this weekend?!) So when a Facebook friend told me that Pillsbury had Ready To Bake Lightning McQueen cookies, I got giddy just thinking about Max's reaction when I got them for him.
Last week I sent Dave out on a search expedition to find a store that had them and he came home with three packages.
Saturday afternoon I said, "Max, I have a surprise for you!"
"Cars 2?!" he asked, hopefully. I smiled. I reached into the freezer, and pulled out a package of cookies.
Max's face lit up. He stared at the box, fascinated. He let out a little giggle of excitement.
"Now?" he asked.
"Yes!" I said. He giggled again and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
These cookies are awesome for kids who have challenges with fine-motor skills, because they're pre-cut. Kids just have to grasp them, however they can, and plop them onto the baking sheet a couple inches apart.
Max demonstrating an admirable pincer grasp
We preheated the oven to 375 degrees and popped them in.
"Light!" said Max, and I turned it on. He stood there practically the entire 10 minutes, watching them expand.
The cookies were super-soft coming out, but they hardened up within a few minutes. They were a little too crunchy for Max's chewing abilities so I crumbled them and placed bits on his back molars.
"Mmmmm," he said, clearly impressed with his baking skills.
Then he asked for another. Then he offered me one, which is how I knew he really and truly loves me.
Yesterday morning, Max took a plate of Lightning McQueen cookies to school. His teacher said they were the first thing he showed the kids, and he was so excited.
I am planning to get a bunch more packages, since they are seasonal, so if you live near me I'm very sorry for snapping them all up but may I please borrow a portion of your freezer?
I am still riding the high of Max's happiness. Life as a special needs mom certainly has its lows. Low low low low lows, with heaping sides of worry, stress, frustration and what-ifs. But the pure joy Max expresses blisses me out every single time. Like therapy, only better. And free.
It's typically a quality that very young children possess, this unabashed glee over simple things they adore. Max still has it. And it is delicious.
And I hope he never grows out of it.