Category Archives: Snickerdoodle


Favorite number. I don’t get it. Numbers are functional. Asking for a favorite number is like asking what my favorite gasoline is, or my favorite nail, or screw, or spark plug. My favorite is the one I need at the moment that is close to hand. They serve a function, not a fancy. My only favorite number is “Free,” which doesn’t count as a number.

My youngest daughter, however, has a favorite number. At first I thought it was just the biggest number she could think of. This summer when we were renovating the kitchen, she walked into the dining room, and surveyed my carefully laid underlay with screws every four inches, and said, “Whoa. There must be eighteen screws in there.” At the time it felt more like 1800, so I wasn’t amused. When discussing future family sizes, she often announces that she will have eighteen babies. (Reminded, of course, by her fertility challenged mother that one doesn’t always get to pick.)

We became aware, however, that it went beyond big. Sometimes it was funny, like when Jonathan was counting to twenty for hide and seek with the children. He got to eighteen, and heard, from inside a closet, “Yay! Eighteen.” Other times it was inappropriate, like when Jonathan was reading Judges 20 in family worship. “Eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell, all of them men of valor.” “Yay! Eighteen.” Sometimes it is useful, like when the other kids get 20 minutes of screen time, but she negotiates 18. She can even set the timer herself, because she knows 18. Although one time she set it for 18 hours and 18 minutes. Two eighteens are better than one.

Last week I had the blessing of driving to Fredericton with only the snickerdoodle. On the way home we slowed down at the 218 kilometer mark so she could see it and say “Yay! Eighteen.” When we passed exit 188, she said, “It’s an eighteen and a broken eighteen.” The entire family has begun looking for eighteens just because it makes our youngest say, “Yay! Eighteen.” Eighteen has become her thing. When the older children get eighteen as an answer in their math problems, they call her over and show it to her. When they find something with 18 written on it, they automatically assign it to their youngest sister.

When my mackerdoodle was the same age that the snickerdoodle is now, I was often quoting her to people and listening to her little quirks. The two youngest children have speech issues. The oldest got to be the only one speaking for a long time. I don’t have those same moments with my youngest. I am catechizing and teaching spelling and reading and grammar and math. I am drawing maps for history and experiments for science. I am answering a thousand questions an hour, and only a fraction of those come from my almost five year old. The cuteness gets lost in the mist of daily doings.

I am always aware of the tension between what must be done and what must be noticed, because it is so fleeting. I didn’t realize that my mackerdoodle had been aware of that same tension. Earlier this week she had been doing nine times tables, so the number 18 was making regular appearances on her work. The snickerdoodle would stop every thing to come and see every single 18. On the last problem, the mackerdoodle looked into my face and said, “One day she isn’t going to say ‘yay. eighteen.’ any more. One day it will just be another number again. Please write it down so we don’t forget.”

From now on eighteen will remind me not only of my wonderful third child and her child like wonder at the things we barely even notice, but also of the growing maturity in my oldest who doesn’t want to forget the days her little sister said, “YAY! EIGHTEEN.”


Just a Tall Two Year Old

From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, says proverbs, and when each of my children have developed verbal skills I have found it discouraging for their mouths to reveal the sin I have always known to be present in theory, but had often denied in practice.

For about six months, the snickerdoodle has called her sister “Mo-Mo”, because that is what the Cheesdoodle calls her. And the cheesedoodle she calls “guys”, in the plural. Her “g”s come out as “d”s, so for awhile we thought she was calling him “dyes” which had us baffled. The discovery that she was calling him “guys” didn’t really enlighten us that much until this week.

I was walking down the hallway at church, my arms filled with the paraphernalia of Children’s ministry, and the paraphernalia of motherhood and the other random things of life. Behind me came the Cheesedoodle and the Snickerdoodle, dragging their feet like they were on their way to the gallows (instead of home for lunch as was the actual case.). I turned around, and said, as only an impatient mother can, “come on, guys! let’s go!” From her position behind her brother, the snickerdoodle chimed in, as only a self righteous sibling can, “Yah, Dyes. Wet’s doe! Uh’mon Dyes!” In her mind, exhortation and reprimand happen to someone else, and that someone else must be her brother.

There was a lightbulb moment as I looked back on past corrective moments. Hearing a general commotion in the toy room and calling back, “hey, guys. Be kind.” When the overall enjoying each other turns into screams of delight, I will often say, “ok, guys. That’s enough.” I mean “everyone six and under.” The snickerdoodle is apparently thinking, “you go, Mama. Get that brother under control!” Because a general “guys” couldn’t possibly include her!

It’s humbling to realize that I often read scripture the same way my toddler hears me. “That’s right, Moses. You tell those Israelites! Way to go, Jesus! Give it to the Pharisees! I’m with you, Paul. Those Corinthians are out of control! Uh’mon dyes, wet’s doe!” Another great disappointment in parenting is facing head on the reality that in my heart I am often just a tall two year old.

The Lord is at work! and One of the he ways He continues to work in me is to use my children as a mirror, reflecting where I have been, and where I have grown. My role as a parent is to show my children their sin, but encourage them that they don’t always have to stay that way. My hope is the same as the one to which I point all of my Doodles: If we are in Him, and He in us, then He who has begun a work in us will complete it. as I identify and rebuke my children’s sin, I say – not in the impatient tone of a hurrying mother, or in the self righteous tone of a bossy sibling, but in the encouraging tone of a guide who has seen a little further down the path – “Come on, guys. let’s go.”

It’s late, and I’m tired, but I have to share some cute kid moments

The mackerdoodle had an assignment for school. Here is the message from her teacher:

“select a stuffed animal from home and make a tag to tie around the animal’s neck. The tag should include your child’s name, the name of the animal, and a true fact/sentence about the animal. An example of the fact/sentence is “A bear has fur.” or “A rabbit has long ears.”

The mackerdoodle chose a koala, then asked me to look up koalas and read it to her. Her card says:

Koala is not a bear. It is a marsupial. 6

I had to help her spell “marsupial”, of course, but Why the six? “Because the baby stays in the pouch for 6 months, but I don’t have enough room to write that, so I wrote 6 so I would remember how many months.”
In family worship, the children each take turns praying. The snickerdoodle, being only 2, is learning through repetition after us. We are praying for people in our church, and we ask the children to pray that they would (a) love The Lord, (b) love His church and (c) grow in grace. Today the snickerdoodle’s prayer went like this.

Me: Dear God. Snickerdoodle: God
Me: thank you for. Snickerdoodle: tantoo for
Me: [family name]. Snickerdoodle: [family name]
Me: please help them. Snickerdoodle: hep dem
Me: to love you. Snickerdoodle: wuv me
Me: um. Love Jesus. Snickerdoodle: and wuv Jesus. Amen.
A few days ago the cheesedoodle climbed up on my lap for a snuggle, and I held him close and asked him, “will you always give mama snuggles?” He hugged me tight and said, “nope.” “No?” I answered back, not surprised, but hoping for a different answer. He shrugged and said, “you be dead, sometime.” After a moment of startled suppressed giggles, I asked, “well will you give me snuggles for the rest of my life?” “Oh. Yeah.” He answered and gave me another tight hug before running off to play, apparently happier with my redefined parameters.

To the Mother of One Who Wonders if She Can Handle More

Today Jonathan and the Mac and cheese doodles had a chance to go to Six Flags St. Louis courtesy of neighbors with season’s passes. That has left just me and the snickerdoodle to hang out all day. I realized very quickly into the day that I have never had a 2 year old all to myself. By the time the mackerdoodle was 2 we had the cheese doodle and by the time the cheesedoodle was 2 we had the snickerdoodle and their year of two was largely overshadowed by the chaos of another round of newborn/infant stage. A two year old all by herself is hilarious. And exhausting.

As I was typing that last paragraph she was peppering me with “why” questions about everything, interspersed with her newest favorite word, “everybody” (or “ehbody” in snicker speak.). As she did so, she leaned back against the grill of the van, then hopped up, glaring at the offending vehicle. “Ow! Dat hot!” She said, and proceeded to run around the perimeter of the van touching random locations and saying, “Hot” followed by giggles.

We are outside to play, but every time she goes down the slide, or jumps, or picks anything up, or has a random thought about either related or unrelated things, I have to respond. I’m all she’s got. She has only known life with the built in entertainment system “siblings 2.0”. Without it she’s lost. The frequently asked question of the day is : “Why ehbody doe away?”

Until today I had no answer when people would ask me if three was harder than two or one. I really had no frame of reference. Today I would say this:

Of course the chaos multiplies a little with each child, so does the laundry, the noise and to some extent the general chores of the house, but the minute to minute intensity of parenting is divided. Three children collectively demand less of my individual attention than does one.

If you are a mother of one scared of having another because you can barely handle the demands of the one you have, I say only that the joy is multiplied and the intensity divided as a family grows. I thought I would get more done with only one child at home. Instead I am accomplishing less.

Mothers of only children, today you have my admiration. You must be exhausted.


My doodles are all in a fun stage, so I thought I would share an update and a few stories.

Those are his Iron Man jets propelling his flight.

The cheesedoodle is still struggling with words, but there is a noticeable improvement in his vocabulary. He knows all of his colors (red is too hard to say, so he says “rojo”) and is learning his letters. He calls his sisters “MoMo” and “BaBa.” While the mackerdoodle has been around long enough that Jonathan and I haven’t added “MoMo” to our every day speech, the snickerdoodle has become “BaBa” to the entire family. The cheesedoodle is convinced that he will be Iron Man when he grows up, and because of this belief he prefers to wear “rojo” when possible, as well as adorning his wrists with empty toilet paper rolls.

One evening at dinner, Jonathan asked the children, “What will it be like when all three of you are talking?” The cheesedoodle began to laugh in this hilarious, old man, condescending laugh, and just shook his head and said, “No. No.” Apparently he understands that having two sisters will always put a cramp in his communication. But it’s ok, because he’ll be Iron Man.

When did she get this big?

The mackerdoodle alternates between being four and fourteen. I suspect this will continue until she is in her late 20s – or at least it did with me. She loves to cook and I have to make the time to let her help. We have some great conversations in the kitchen, and I know that if we can start talking over meal preparation now, we’ll be able to keep doing that when she’s alternating between 16 , 10 and 40.

On Tuesdays we have a regular dinner date with another seminary family whose daddy works Tuesday evenings. We alternate between homes, and one of the days they were at our place I planned a build your own pizza meal. The mackerdoodle and cheesedoodle were very excited about making their own pizza, but their doodlebuddy was far more interested in playing in our toy room. Mac n Cheese made pizzas for themselves and for the other two boys, and as I put the pizza in the oven, the mackerdoodle disappeared into the toy room saying, “Now it’s time to make the caramel for dessert! Come on! It’s time to make the caramel sauce!” Her doodle buddy was unenthusiastic and remained in the toy room driving our trucks in peace. The mackerdoodle came around the corner, looked at me and said, “I cannot BELIEVE he does not like to cook!” I wonder if I’ll hear that about some poor teenage boy in about 12 years.

She LOVES her baby doll.

The snickerdoodle is her own little being. She looks remarkably like her older sister, and yet has such a distinctly different personality. In fact, as much as my mackerdoodle reminds many in my family of me, the snickerdoodle reminds me of the stories of my younger sister. Two things about my snickerdoodle match the family lore about Melissa. The first is her tendency to bite me. I can be heard multiple times each day saying, “NO. NO TEETH!” Her answer, most frequently, is a giggle and another attempt.

The second, more flattering to all, is that every time she hugs anyone – including her baby doll – she pats us on the back three times. My parents used to joke that they should have named Melissa “Patty”and I’ve caught myself calling the snickerdoodle exactly that as she pats my back. I usually have to follow that up with “NO TEETH!”

She LOVES her baby doll and two days ago I found her sitting on the floor with a cracker that her brother had liberated from the counter for her. She had 2/3 of it in her mouth, and was putting 1/3 into the baby dolls mouth. She looked up at me and grinned hugely. Then she patted the baby lovingly on its head and bit it.

So there you are. A bit of a doodle moment for y’all.

All in All It’s a Pretty Great Job

Being a stay at home mama can be exhausting some times. The snickerdoodle continues in her sleep dysfunction. The cheesedoodle continues in his speech delay and potty refusal. The mackerdoodle is my oldest, and thereby has the unfortunate roll of blazing trail for her siblings every where she grows. So there are struggles, but this week has been a pretty good one in the parenting department, and I thought I would share the highlights.

Monday I was giving the cheesedoodle his daily potty pep talk. Are you a big boy? Do big boys wear diapers? Don’t you want to wear underwear and keep it dry like a big boy? When I got to that last question, he put his hands on my cheeks and looked into my eyes and said, very clearly, “No no. DyePo.” Now I could put that in the loss column for potty training, but I’m putting it down as a win in speech development. I sighed and said, “When are you going to learn to use the potty?” He held up three fingers, and smiled happily. I guess I’ve only got 4 more months.

Monday at lunch Jonathan was reading the bible, as is his habit when we have a family meal together, and he asked the mackerdoodle, “Do you have any questions?” She looked up at him and asked, “What happens to the hell people? Do they ever get to go to the city with no sin where Jesus is the King?” We are amazed at her mind. Jonathan explained that Hell, like Heaven, is eternal and they had a long discussion about all sin deserving eternal punishment and because we are all sinners, we deserve that too. She has often acknowledged her sin and has had an understanding to some degree of sin’s affects in the world, but this was the first time that the Lord began to open her eyes to sin as an act of treason against God. With both the mackerdoodle and Jonathan in tears, she asked more and more questions and Jonathan responded with scripture, “anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” They prayed together and Jonathan left for class, and then work and the mackerdoodle didn’t mention it again; but at bedtime her usual rote prayer, “Thank you for mommy and daddy has a good shift and please forgive my sins and be the king of my life,” was replaced with this: “Dear Jesus. Thank you that when we know in our hearts you are the true God, you have saved us from our sins. Amen”

The weather has been BEAUTIFUL here lately, and one day this week I was putting the snickerdoodle down for a nap and told the older doodles they could play on the back deck while I was doing it. They asked if they could put out some bird seed for the birds, and I gave them permission to do so. As I was coming toward the kitchen, one sleeping baby later, the mackerdoodle said, “Mama? We’ve put out a lot of bird seed. We didn’t want the birds to be hungry.” based on the amount of birdseed I know was in the bag before I went to put the baby down, I would guesstimate they had put about four pounds of seed on the porch, but they had spread it evenly across each board in the deck. “We wanted all the birds to have room to eat,” was the mackerdoodle’s response.

Wednesday is a bit of a crazy day at our house, and I was trying to get dinner into the crockpot so we would have supper ready for our mad dash home from ballet before heading back out to midweek activities at church. I became vaguely aware in mid bustle that the two older doodles were pretty busily doing something in the kitchen. About to snap at them to stop messing with things, I caught my tongue as I realized they were unloading the dishwasher. They were doing it together, happily, and anything that went where they couldn’t reach was being placed neatly on the table. They were genuinely helping. Thursday saw a reprise of that when I arrived home from grocery shopping to a very hungry and tired snickerdoodle. As I was spooning pureed pear into the baby’s desperate mouth, mac n’ cheese put away the groceries for me, including carrying several frozen items downstairs to the chest freezer and putting them away. When the snickerdoodle could be left with her avocado pieces (a big snickerdoodle favorite), all I had left to do was put two gallons of milk into the fridge and a few large pieces of meat into the freezer. They had done almost all of it, and done it cheerfully, together.

So I may be tired and there maybe giant smears of avocado on my pants, and cheesedoodle muddy hand prints on my jacket, walls and mirrors, but I’ve got to say, this week I’m feeling like I’ve got a pretty great job.

What Happens When You Put a Sticker on an 8 Month Old?

This sticker? On me? Are you kidding?

Tastes better than it looks

Ok. What's next?