Mommy Talks

Whatever makes my daughter happy

I know a lot of mothers who spend bonding time with their teenaged daughters by shopping together. But Sam and I? Most of our bonding times revolve around food and photography. Not necessarily eating food but decorating. Like that time I baked cupcakes and she did the frosting. We don’t get to do it very often these days, she being in college and living away five days a week. Last night, however, well, early morning to be more precise, we made gingerbread bears.

But let me start at the beginning. For the past two years or so, Sam had been asking me to bake gingerbread men that she could decorate. Rolled cookies aren’t my thing and I’ve always balked. But over the Christmas break, perhaps because I wanted to sort of make up for all the time we spend away from each other, I relented. There was just one problem. See, gingerbread cookie dough has to be chilled, rolled and spread on a cookie tray, chilled again, cut, the cut cookies arranged on a tray then chilled again before baking. It was Christmas break, the fridge was packed and there was no space for entire cookie sheets. And not to mention tubs of frostings in different colors.

Still, I wanted to give her the opportunity to decorate gingerbread men because I knew it would make her happy. She so enjoys decorating her food.

So, when I found this box of gingerbread cookie kit which comes with frostings in convenient little tubes, I bought one. The thing that remained was finding the time when Sam wasn’t busy and I wasn’t busy — a common time when we were both awake. Earlier today, between two and three in the morning, we baked gingerbread bears. Pardon the crappy lighting of the photos. Like I said, it was between two and three in the morning and you don’t get any nice natural lighting at those ungodly hours.

I mixed and rolled the dough; Sam cut them with the bear-shaped cutter that came with the box. Also inside the box where decorative items — eyes made of sugar icing, gum drops…

The bear-shaped cookie cutter was rather large so Sam used our old gingerbread man cookie cutter to make smaller shapes with the excess dough.

We baked the cookies, cooled them, then Sam decorated them.

Warning: some concepts and graphics may be disturbing to people with pre-conceived ideas of what gingerbread cookies should look.

Me: “Sam, he’s cross-eyed…”

Sam smiled wickedly, giggled, and said, “I know!”

Then she got really “creative” and decided that rules of bear anatomy did not apply.

When she ran out of eyes, the bears became cyclops. The one above must be a vampire cyclops (there is no singular for cyclops, is there?).

All the time that she was decorating the cookies, she was wearing a huge smile on her face. And I felt like the silly mother who was happy to see her daughter happy. Even if it meant she was applying the graphical standards of today’s horror movies that fascinate her so much.

She said, “This is a zombie eating human flesh and he’s covered in blood…

… and this is a manananggal.” For non-Filipino readers, the link to a definition of the manananggal is provided.

Sam has weird ideas? She’s an artist, for crying out loud, usual concepts and perspectives don’t apply. So says the mother who lives by the same creed.

But just when the designs got weirder and weirder, the sweet girl persona decided to take over.

And she made this coquettish gingerbread bear with bright red lips wearing a head band (or is that a tiara?) and ribbon.

Sam went to bed in a jolly good mood, she woke up in high spirits… I just don’t know what the next food decorating project will be.

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