Baking bread today I had two helpers by my side. They anxiously waited through the first rise. How much longer? We read a book. Longer? We played a game. Longer? Kara read a chapter of history. At last!
Four little hands, beside me as I press and roll and shape my loaves. Four little hands divide their dough and they create. Side by side appear a little bread boy and a little bread girl, long lanky legs and arms. They had raisins for eyes and smiles and buttons. Kara fashioned a purse and pressed it into a little bread hand. Arden was busy patting and rolling and pushing and mounding and starting all over again. When a masterpiece seemed just right he wanted to eat it right then, dough squishing in his mouth. They added cinnamon and sugar. They added pepperoni and cheese. Bread sticks lined up beside bread donuts and they were all popped in the oven.
We ran outside and took our time weeding, riding bikes, dreaming and one fought a battle behind the hydrangea. Then we'd hurry back to check the bread. Coming in that kitchen door, Arden smelled the goodness and was so hungry he wilted. But they weren't done yet. Back outside with the sun, the wind, the mailman and the flowers. Only a few more minutes.
When the bread was finally done, raised and golden, we were ready to eat it. A slice of a loaf. A bread stick, chewy, and just right without butter. Arden shared his mound shape with me. We finished up quick then he was ready for more and wanted to share the mound-pressed-down-flat too. It's different you know and always better when you share. Then Kara and Arden are off again, warm bread clutched in little hands, perfect for travels, dreams and campaigns. Perfect for the backyard.
Will you be making bread soon? I make my whole wheat bread six loaves at a time and love to devote one loaf to cinnamon rolls and one to small children. But any kind of bread will do, even a batch made just for fun. My only rule, as they consider what to make, is that they have to be willing to eat their work. Share a loaf's worth of dough with your little ones, let them play with their food. I'm sure you won't regret it.