Today was weird: It was sunny. Then it rained. THEN it hailed. After that it was sunny. Then a thunderstorm. Sunny. Rain again. Sun again. But not one rainbow. That was the only surprise to me. After all that–no rainbow?!
Ok, so the weather was weird. Not the day really. May 1st is a holiday in Germany. (It’s their Labor Day.) Thorsten worked because holiday or not, this year everyone is at home and there is nowhere to go. What the quarantine rules really rule out is going anywhere just for fun. Aside from hiking there is no special treat to a café or a pick-nick somewhere because cafés are still closed and pick-nicks are still not allowed.
We did our normal thing. i.e. Still working on that potty stuff from yesterday, a lot of whining about getting the hair brushed, dressed up like ballerinas, maybe forgetting to brush teeth, danced around, made a big mess, did some coloring, ate some (homemade!!) ice cream, went to the cemetery to see Oma (from 5 ft away with masks on) and remember Opa (during the thunderstorm), stopped to admire some huge fields of Raps (I think Rapeseed in English) and then came home to make pizza for dinner.
That’s when the trouble started. Pizza night at our house is usually simple. There is store bought pizza dough and we, as Big Sister put it, just decorate the pizza. We serve it with a salad and usually some other fruit or vegetable that the littles will eat and Viola! Dinner is served.
Tonight though, there were a few kinks. 1. The pizza dough seemed like it had been in the fridge a little too long. 2. We had a new pizza stone that I thought I knew how to use, but I actually had no idea.
First I realized that the pizza dough was too big for the pizza stone. Then I tried to transfer it to the baking sheet. It got all folded up and stuck to itself. It hardly looked salvageable and Big Sister, as the sous chef, kept saying really helpful things like Mom, what in the world are you doing?
I started to sweat. I blame the preheating oven but really I was just hungry and had expected the dinner to require no effort. I ended up rolling the dough back into a ball, putting it back on the pizza stone and trying to roll it out again with a rolling pin, some flour and very little success. After some more commentary from the peanut gallery I was about to kick Big Sister out of the kitchen except I kept having this nagging thought, She is learning to deal with stress from watching you. She is figuring out what is really worth getting stressed over and what isn’t based on how you are dealing with this pizza dough.
I kept stopping myself from seeming panicked. Trying to seem non-challant I would say things like, This is our chance to see if we can make this work! Maybe it will be a funny memory later. She would nod and get to work helping me to fit the very uncooperative dough onto the pizza stone. Remaining skeptical, I tried to seem positive. When we finally made some semblance of a rectangle out of it, I was so relieved and we started decorating.
Much to my surprise the pizza tasted better than expected. At the table we marveled at how good it was and I reminded Big Sister that you can make things work even when the situation isn’t ideal. She nodded and said something like, can I have a piece of chocolate after dinner?
Do all parents do this? Try to shift the focus of a memory? The stress of the dough drama wasn’t my shining moment in the kitchen. But I’m still hoping that instead of stressed-out me, she’ll remember that we stayed positive, kept our focus and that we didn’t go hungry tonight.
The reality is that I was probably the one who needed reminding. And in case you also need to be reminded: We can make something great out of less than ideal circumstances.