1 tablespoon yeast.
Granules bounce from the measuring spoon into the stainless steel bowl.
I add sugar and warm water. The yeast begins to bubble.
I’m startled away from yeast alchemy.
“Hi baby,” I say to the little, earnest, blue-eyed face looking up at me.
His rice pudding has spilled, sticky grains of rice scattered around both our feet.
I leave the yeast to do its thing and clean up the spilled rice pudding.
3 cups flour.
Is this where I am in the recipe? Did I add the water yet?
Ok. 3 cups flour. Salt. Oil? Wait…
“What do you need baby?” I ask, squinting at the recipe book, which is propped up against the toaster.
“Poop? Oh dear.”
This actually means he’s already in the process of removing his diaper, and I have a matter of seconds before poo is on the floor, his hands, and on its way elsewhere.
“Ok! Coming love! Hold still! No! No! Not yet!” I say desperately as he pulls his diaper off.
I narrowly avert disaster.
Dispose of the dirty diaper. Wipe bum. Put on new diaper. Wash hands.
OK. Now. Where was I?
Salt, flour, stir. Ok.
“What sweetie?” I say, turning the sticky dough over and around with the wooden spatula my father carved for me. He carved “Rosebud”, my nickname, into the handle.
“UPUPUPUP!!!!” Says the imperious, demanding voice below me.
I pick him up. His wispy blond hairs tickle the bottom of my chin, and his little body is hot against mine.
“Me!” Callan says.
I put his little hands around the spatula handle, curling my hand around as a guide.
Together we turn the dough.
Just as my momma taught me.
Our hands holding in the same place my father held as he carved.
Callan looks up at me and smiles.
I’m sweaty, tired, and a bit irritated.
All that disappears with his smile.
I smile back.
The same way my momma did, in that favorite photo of the two of us from when I was Callan’s age, “helping” her in the kitchen.
“Tanks momma,” he says.
“You’re welcome my love,” I whisper into the top of his head. “Thank you.”