20 May, 2011

Hopscotch, scones, and balls of wool

A friend who blogs and comments here sometimes is a mother who stays at home.  She is always busy with crafts, and art, and Girl Scouts, and a whole range of things she gets to do as a mother.  And today it got me to thinking – almost wistfully but not quite – about some of the things I would probably be doing if my pregnancies had ended differently.
  • Baking.  When there are just two of you, there is no excuse to bake biscuits (cookies for the Americans reading), or scones (biscuits) or pikelets or muffins, the things I grew up eating after school, or on the weekend.  It’s impossible to make a recipe just for one scone each, or one pikelet, one muffin or one biscuit.  I don’t bake cakes, unless we have visitors, because there’d always be  half a cake left the day after the dinner party, and then we’d eat it all.  If I had kids, I could feed it to them and the hordes of neighbourhood kids who visited after school.  But I don't.  So I don't bake.  And I love baking.  I really do.  There’s something therapeutic about creaming the butter and sugar, sifting the dry ingredients, or icing a cake.  At this stage, I’d be teaching little S or D the first steps of baking – making pink and white coconut ice, or my favourite chocolate fudge cake (as we called it) which turns out to be the same as the Chocolate Biscuit Cake that Prince William insisted on having at his wedding.  I miss that I can’t do that.
  • Sport.  I was very sporty as a child and teenager, and even as a young adult, but once I started working and travelling internationally, there was no space for it.  I’d be at the stage where I would be teach little S or D how to play netball, or kick a soccer ball, or how to swim. Or we’d play hopscotch on our concrete driveway.  I’d be more active, I wouldn’t have to force myself to a gym to get exercise.
  • Music.  I grew up playing the piano, and would now be teaching little S or D the joys of pressing keys, making sounds, and turning squiggly signs on a piece of paper into music.  I don’t play very much these days, but if there were children around, I imagine playing and singing together.
  •  Art and Craft.  I’m not very arty, although (and I might write about this separately) did take up painting at one stage.  But think of the fun we could have with paint and pastels and crayons and glue and sparkly things at this age!
  • Knitting and sewing.  It was a case of necessity, but I grew up making my own clothes and knitting our own jerseys and scarves.  These days it isn't as necessary - import tariffs have been dropped, and we can buy clothes more cheaply than we can make them.  But I can imagine sewing clothes and knitting woolly jerseys for the little ones – especially now the cats are gone and there wouldn’t be a battle for the balls of wool.


  1. Baking! Love how you describe it... I never want to stop baking, we just find other victims to share. My DP even has a "baking club" at work, every Monday one of the (6) guys brings something homemade. And always an easy birthday gift.

  2. you can still knit- knit for yourself! I would be sad if I couldn't knit.

  3. I was going to say that about knitting. I have given up knitting for children: they whine about itchiness, or for other people, actually. I knit for me now.

    Interesting about the baking. I live on a block where many of us bake and give away so that we don't eat 7 dozen chocolate chip cookies. We really only want a few...

  4. Wow. Now I'm sad you aren't my mom, frankly.

    I know what you mean about baking, although I can't say I love it. It just doesn't occur to me to do it, much for similar reasons. But I am curious about your chocolate fudge cake (chocolate biscuit cake) if you'd care to share...

  5. I still bake sometimes, even if it's just us. I make a couple of fruitcakes and feed them up with whisky to give as a present, or - more practically for 2 - occasionally make Scotch pancakes (aka drop scones) for breakfast.

  6. I love to cook, and we love leftovers, so I do still bake/cook from scratch. I do think I'd do a whole lot more of it (especially the cookies and cakes and fun stuff) if we'd had kids, and definitely wouldn't be as chunky from eating most of it myself.

    I don't sew hardly at all any more, tho. I learned in college (in the theater's costume department), and always figured I'd make the cutest clothes for my children and the best Halloween costumes ever...I get very sad and wistful when I come across some blogs with darling dresses or outfits for children that I'll never get to make.

  7. It's so sad that some parts of our lives remain unused... I still knit like crazy, though these days it's an expensive hobby. I do make sure I avoid baby items and I knit mostly for myself.

  8. Oh I LOVE baking. Unfort Mr stinky and myself will eat most of it in one sitting too :/
    You know you can freeze some stuff?Spongy cakes definitely. I've just eaten most of an apple crumble from crumble mix that I froze a few weeks back.

    Its hard when you think like that, isn't it, about the things you could be doing with your kids

  9. i was thinking of children's books i will never get to read to anyone the other day and it made me sad as I loved to read (and be read to) as a child. I will also miss not having a child to teach sports too.

    These are the hard parts. The list of "things i will never do because we are only two". but lucky, there is a complimentary list to this: "things i will do because we are only two".

  10. Nicole, I'm quite good at the other list too!

    Knitters, I'm tempted to start again! The baking though ... I'm trying to lose weight. Sigh.

    IB ... I'm going to make it - test to see if it's as good as I remember it. Maybe tonight!

  11. Hi, I've been reading for a while...
    It makes me sad to think of you denying yourself these things if they bring you pleasure in life. I bake and crochet--always did, even before trying to start a family. If you have extra (cookies, or knitted hats), I'm sure there's someone you could donate them to. (local shelters could use some warm clothes?) After all, it's the act of making them you enjoy, yes? We have a lovely guy at my office who enjoys baking, and he lives alone, so he brings us cupcakes all the time and we scarf them down.
    My sister-in-law, with two kids, falls into the opposite trap...she is denying herself immediate pleasures because "she wants to save them so she can experience them with her kids." So for example she won't read the Harry Potter books until the kids are old enough that they can all read them together. I sort of understand...but I also remember reading book seven all night long the day it came out, and what joy it brought me. Take your joy where you can find it and make the most of it. Life isn't what we thought it would be, but it can still be full of cookies and music. --Liz

  12. Liz, welcome. I'm not denying myself - well, except for the baking, but that's a food/weight/health issue rather than anything else - but I did realise that my life would be very different if I had children. As I said - I was almost wistful thinking of these things, but not quite. Which makes me see I need to write a different post - things I love now I wouldn't be doing if I had had kids.