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Monday, 20 November 2006


I am a control freak – I admit it. It is just no fun for the kids when we bake. I like aprons on, hands washed, everything measured out accurately and mixed thoroughly. Oh, and the mix stays in the bowl, all in a manner which would make Bree Van De Kamp look flakey. I like the kids to have something nice to show for their efforts, even if they must remain on the naughty step while I carry out the entire task myself.

My lovely chilled out chum Lesley often bakes with the kids (hers and mine) and they so enjoy it. They eat most of the mix during the process, and they end up with it in their hair, on the walls, on the cat, and they have a laugh, but no cake to show for it, and what they do make – you wouldn’t dream of eating. It doesn’t seem to matter, it is just good fun. Why can’t I be more like Lesley?

Mrs Honeywell recently ‘volunteered’ me to come into school to help the children to bake. I tried to explain to my sons delightful teacher that I am not the best candidate to carry out this task with children, and she laughed. Oh, how little she knows! I dutifully took an annual leave day today and came to the school as requested, but I was dreading it. We want the children to see us support them at every opportunity and Max was delighted – he is a little sweetheart.

I sat there in my powder blue Cath Kidston apron, with the ingredients as requested from home (organic of course) – terrified of myself. I really held back, tried to control myself and be a good mother. The event was soon in full swing, egg shells in the Magimix, sticky spoons galore, icing sugar on the surfaces, and my bottom slapping hand had developed a nervous 'twitch'. Suddenly a group of parents entered the classroom unannounced on a ‘tour’. I was heartened to see that nothing at all is ‘staged’ for these prospective parents’ walkabouts, and tried to resist the urge to run from the classroom screaming and tearing out my hair.

The headmistress gave a little explanation to the group of parents of all of the wonderful activities currently in progress in the classroom. The four little boys at the baking table with me continued with their tasks, despite the audience, one sifting flour carefully onto the floor. I was an emotionally exhausted quivering wreck, where is the gin when you need it? As the group began to filter out of the room, an enormous suited, confident man came up to my table, and asked, ‘Is the egg in that mix pasteurised?’ and ‘Is it safe for that boy to be licking a spoon with raw egg in the mix?’, I almost expired with an anxiety attack.

Immediately, Mrs Honeywell interrupted authoritatively (she is a goddess), ‘No the egg is not pasteurised, and at this table here – these boys are cutting with real scissors, and outside in the playground is a terrific play frame for the children to climb on which they also may fall off and hurt themselves. We refuse to sanitise their childhood, we will protect them as much as is sensible, and explain dangers to them if appropriate. If this concerns you, this is not the school for your son’, at which Mr Pants looked rather panic stricken, and backed apologetically out of the class. ‘We do not bubble wrap our children’ – finished Mrs Honeywell, as he scuttled out the door.’


Wow, what a powerful woman. I think she is amazing. On reflection, I actually enjoyed the morning baking at school. I am going to bake with the children at home soon…………ish.

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