After learning about a neighbor’s recent foot injury, we decided to make blueberry cookies for her. Knowing how he loves making (and eating) cookies, I suggested he could take some to his family too. After all, there would be plenty! “Yes!!” Indeed, his heart was all in!

Now that he’s three years old, I felt it would be nice to connect our routine cookie baking activity to the concept of “caring for others”. As a teachable moment, cookies are both fun to make and taste. And when made out of care and concern for someone in need, they are especially sweet!

Ready to bake, I headed to my pantry cabinet to gather the necessary baking supplies. Hmmm…I was sure I had ALL the ingredients for blueberry cookies. Sadly, I did not.

Quickly, I had to pivot in the moment while he stood next to me. As a substitute, I cheerfully described ‘Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies.’ Seemingly receptive to the change, he was excited to begin mixing. Soon, we had set out the ingredients on his table. After measuring together, he began pouring and mixing …

With each stir, he said, “Ew, I don’t like peanut butter. Daddy likes peanut butter.” Next, “Ew, no chocolate … vanilla.” …”Ew…Oatmeal.” Meanwhile, I responded by sharing the health benefits of oatmeal, dark chocolate, … Yes, this was not the cookie making experience I had imagined. Instead, it was the cookie activity I had not planned for well enough.

Before long, I was back to pivoting. Obviously, he was disappointed with our oatmeal cookies. So I looked at him and said, “Would you like to make sugar cookies next?” Because he and I had successfully and joyfully made those in the past, I felt it would be the solution. “Yes!” was his quick reply. Fingers crossed, I had to find a recipe that included our available ingredients. Thankfully, I was able to find one.

In the end, we made snowflake sugar cookies and played fun children’s music in the background. Next, we created a card, filled a small box with cookies and tied it with ribbon. For extra cheer, we included some holiday animal napkins. Before walking next door to deliver the “C is for care and concern cookies,” we put on our jackets and I texted our neighbor—certain she was home with her foot up…

No answer. (Sigh)

As soon as his mom arrived to pick him up and he burst into tears. With the best of intentions, I had set an expectation and was unable to deliver. How could I have been so ill-prepared? As a trained Montessori teacher, mother of three grown children, … All I could think was how did I let his happen?

Actually, this is Montessori at Home. Home is not a classroom. Home is real life moments and situations. In the end, it was actually a really good day. Thankfully, the tears lasted for only moments. Looking back at our morning, he and I connected as we reviewed how our cookie care activity unfolded. Importantly, I apologized and we made a new plan to deliver the cookies.

With his own small box in hand, he and his mom left with cookies for his family. Waving, he had a big smile and a few new experiences in his heart. Among them, he had learned new lyrics to fun songs and how to make cookies because you care. And he is going to meet our neighbor next week, and it’s been confirmed.

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