August 18, 2008

Rainbow Pancakes

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"Mom?" I was in the den trying to find all the receipts I needed to file my income taxes when my then-preschooler found me.

"Yes, dear?" It was not the first time she found me that morning -- clearly I'm not very good at hiding. A crisis in the bathroom left the bed unmade, a problem with the television made me forget that I was in the middle of transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer, and my receipts remained unfound as I turned to answer her.

"What color do you get when you mix blue and red?"

"Purple, honey." Quick question. Easy answer. Hello, tax receipts!

"Can I have breakfast? I'm hungry!"

Of course she was hungry. It was 8:30 a.m., she and her sister had been up for almost two hours, and I had forgotten about the part of the day where I put food on the table. It wasn't even 9:00 a.m. and I'd already earned my first "Good Mom" award for the day.

In the pantry I reached for the quick, reliable, and "provides 11 essential vitamins and minerals" box of cereal when I remembered that, sometime shortly after the 6:30 a.m. wake-up call, I had promised to make pancakes.

Then I spotted the food coloring and was inspired. I called Rebecca into the kitchen, and as she helped me mix the pancake batter, I lined the vials of food coloring up on the countertop.

"I used those in preschool! Can we use them? What are we going to do with them?"

"Wait and see," I told her, grinning, as I took the batter from her. I ladled a portion into a smaller bowl and handed her the blue vial. "Just two drops," I cautioned. She added the blue, then the red, and we mixed the batter.

"Purple!" She beamed. So did I. Daddy is known as the King Pancake Maker in our house, but he had never made purple pancakes.

I poured the purple batter onto the griddle and rinsed the bowl. Ladling another portion of batter into it, I told Rebecca to add blue and yellow this time.

Once the green batter was on the griddle, we made a pink pancake using just one drop of red dye. Rebecca danced in the kitchen as she watched her pancakes cook, and, watching her, I forgot about unmade beds, wet laundry, and lost tax receipts.

We sat down at the table, she to a plate of rainbow colored pancakes, while I shared a plate of plain white cakes with the baby. Though one or two is usually her limit, that day she ate the whole stack.

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Rainbow Pancakes

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