Sick Days and Baking


Note: The two cake pictures were from the “Dad Bake-A-Thon”, and you can’t really expect anything to be put away or the table to look clean.

We have been so, so sick.  The kind of sick that strikes you down and crushes you so you can’t move.  Clothilde spent four days lying in bed, sleeping.  THAT kind of sick.  I haven’t seen her so still since she was newborn.

Last week, when we were just starting to feel a tickle in our throats, I had to have a big cooking day.  There was cream to skim, butter to make, tomatoes to boil down to sauce, stock to set on and an overload of eggplants from the garden and eggs from the chickens.  And not to mention all the goat milk.  Every day I am draining more cheese.

I’ve been lately been spending a lot of time working on things with my children – we’ve been doing chalk paintings, reading, playing board games and needle felting to amuse ourselves while it is so hot and awful outside.  But there had to be a cooking day, so I pushed them outside and took over the kitchen.  It was a  busy day, but so much got done.  And then, to my amusement, the very next day became a Baking Day.  I got pushed out of the kitchen, the cookbooks came out, and a baking contest began.  Rose made pretzels, Mirin made cake.  Clothilde hindered in a helpful way.  I helped decipher recipes and offered advice, but mostly I stayed away and knitted.  It was fantastic to see all of them working away in the kitchen together.

The day after that Clothilde was sick.  Then Mirin was sick.  Now I am sick.  I am just now feeling well enough to be out of bed – the sooner, the better.  Everyone has missed me so much, it’s hard to say who misses me more – Ethan or the children.

Clothilde was up horribly early, energetic and chirping after four days of rest.  The big kids were up soon after, squabbling with each other and playing wild games on the furniture.  They needed breakfast, the dishes had to be put away, the floors swept, the milking equipment boiled and set up, the milk skimmed, the jars washed, the laundry sorted, washed, and put away.  And Clothilde played a game in which she locked all the doors in the house and Ethan had to search for the key to the back room so we could get to the phone.  Just the usual, but if you aren’t used to someone else’s work, everything goes slowly, and if you aren’t used to doing things with three children bouncing around, it can be distressing.  I was accused of being secretly amused by it all when I came out briefly to lay on the couch and see how things were going.

By mid-morning the children sent in a delegation.  They said they were being neglected.  Rose wanted to bake a cake (correction:  she wanted someone to bake a cake with her), and Mirin was insisting on chocolate chip cookies.  Rose gave a long-winded speech complaining that “Daddy is so horrible”  (that was basically what she said), and Mirin claimed that I needed to get better immediately because, “It’s daddy’s job to sit in a chair at work and make money.  It’s YOUR job to take care of us.”  He said it was all they could do to survive.

However, they finally went away to do better things and Clothilde and I got a nap.  Ethan did bake cookies and cake with them, and everyone survived.  I’m feeling slightly better, and I hope to be back to my usual duties tomorrow, which apparently I am irreplaceable for.

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