Suffering from cabin fever?
I recommend a tried-and-true cure that works for all ages: baking bread.
Years ago, I was pregnant, diapering, potty-training, or all the above, laboring under a blizzard of “Mo-o-m-myyyyy!”s.
After coloring 147 Smurfs, we needed a different creative experience.
Baking bread worked.
My preschoolers stared in wonder at yeast particles. When we gave them a warm bath, I explained, they blew up tiny balloons that made the bread rise. (Hey, you play Mr. Wizard your way, and I’ll do it mine.) Everyone took turns measuring flour and salt. With luck, we didn’t reverse the quantities.
I needed to knead bread. The rocking rhythm soothed my soul. The children clobbered dough instead of each other.
We made the best bread on the planet — if we let it rise. Like a drying sidewalk, a blob of dough begs for kids’ fingerprints. So, the bowl rested on top of the refrigerator.
When the dough finally rose, we punched it down together. The final step: shaping loaves and twisty rolls. Only culinary experts age six and under can create these little masterpieces.
The baby swallowed the little lump of dough I gave him. The sisters rolled and cut dough into strips with plastic knives. They added cups of flour when Mom wasn’t looking. It whitened the dough, an improvement since one chef decided the floor made a great cooking space. I helped them braid segments and persuaded them to allow each magnum opus to rise again.
Scraping dough off kids, I began to reclaim the environment. One child had showered us with a bag of flour. Another washed dishes to “help.” After rocking them to sleep, I scraped goo off walls and ceiling. Redid the “clean” dishes and mopped. Could I finish a cup of tea before little voices called, “Is it time to bake twisty rolls yet?”
I opened the oven 14 times so they could supervise! But who cared? Heavenly fragrance swirled around us like warm love. Gray, alien lumps miraculously baked into little golden braids. Each kid slathered warm twisties with butter and devoured them while watching Mr. Rogers.
Half a big loaf of bread disappeared too.
Everybody felt lots better.
Decades later, half a loaf might cure cabin fever too.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your cure for cabin fever?