finding your bliss
It took over two years for Punk to even want to pick up a crayon - it's true. And though every milestone chart I was reading, claimed that by 18 months all toddlers love to scrawl on paper, doodle with chalk, or at least finger paint, child number one was having none of it. Despite my panicked attempts to force crayolas into his chubby little fists, he refused to draw . . . and instead spent his every free moment obsessing over trains - leading me to conclude that not only had he been switched at birth, but that I had inherited someone else's mentally (and artistically) deficient motorhead toddler.
But as anyone who knows him will tell you - it all worked out. Not only does he like to draw - but claims he needs it to live. It's his bliss.
Baby Yoda seems to have discovered a bliss of her own - paper. She loves it - the taste of it that is. Which I guess will work out well for Punk, since I am constantly on his case to recycle his leftover sketches. He'll probably just duct-tape Yoda to a wall, where she will live happily ever after in a continual state of paper-eating symbiosis. Bliss for both of them.
And then there is Kooka. For this kid, finding her bliss has been a difficult journey. She is hard on herself, and nothing less than perfection makes her happy. She's a gifted athlete but as she says, "doesn't see it in herself." She's a good dancer - but being the youngest in the class means her leaps are never the highest. She has a beautiful singing voice - but since Simon Cowell has not personally commented on her you tube clips, she's pretty sure that hobby is going nowhere fast.
Kooka is good at so many things - she's just that kind of kid. But there is one area where she stands out more than most, one place where she always excels, one subject where she trumps every other member of the family . . . cooking.
She's been baking on her own since she was 6. I have woken from a nap to find cherry cheesecake in the fridge and the entire kitchen clean. I have seen her unable to hide a cringe when she bakes brownies with a friend, because the pan was not properly greased, or the batter was too lumpy. I've watched her eyes glaze over as she watched 4 consecutive episodes of "Cake Boss," and explained, in great detail, how she was going to create her next confection. And she follows through - two weeks ago, she actually baked a double layer, vanilla/red-velvet swirl cake, with pink buttercream frosting, vanilla bean piping, and completely edible cell phone, lipstick and makeup case that she sculpted out of modeling chocolate (that she also made herself).
There is no denying that the girl is gifted in this area - and anyone who's ever watched me bring a 10-pack of White Castle sliders to a potluck, knows that my genes are not playing a part in her prodigious culinary skills.
But I do what I can.
Last week Rico and I took her to Kabuki Grill where she watched the master chef cook a meal right at our table. The food was decent, but the best part was watching her face as the chef created flaming onion volcanoes, dribbled unbroken eggs like ping pong balls, threw a splash of this, and a dash of that together, lit it on fire, and served it to Kooka - who proclaimed it all "amazing."
And sharing that experience with her, was my bliss. Because as long as those 3 find their meaning in life, I've found mine too.