Nothing has the potential to ruin your morning faster than when your 5 year old and 2 year old announce: "Dad, can we help you make pancakes?"
Watching them drag their chairs toward the stove, my face most likely looks like a concerned citizen watching a tidal wave roar toward him down his city's main avenue.
Making pancakes requires only basic motor skills. But between my two eager assistants, one had recently fallen over in a panic while trying to get his shirt on yet ended up getting both arms stuck in one arm hole. The other went into the bathroom and came out with a little poop on the upper part of his shirt. No poop on his hands, just a little on his foot, and a little on his shirt. I cleaned him up thinking, "So he didn't touch his shirt with a poopy hand .... and his shirt is still on .... good God, I don't even want to know how this happened, I'll just make sure that this kid is never near an open flame."
Dun dun dun.
Save a small miracle, in a matter of minutes, I'll have two angry, possibly injured children, and approximately 16 burnt pancakes.
The kids jockey for space in front of the burner, leaving me (arguably the most important member of this cooking team) to try and reach over them to pour. The first minor meltdown comes pretty quickly, when they see that I've already mixed the batter.
5 year old: "I wanted to help stir it!"
My interior monologue: "Oh for fuck's sake, I'm already making you pancakes, so cool it!"
Me: "Don't cry, I already did, so here, help me pour it."
My interior monologue: "Damn, now I have to let him help pour."
5 year old: "I want to pour it with my self!"
My interior monologue: "Ha! Yeah, not a chance in hell you uncoordinated midget."
Me: "It'll be fun to do it together, buddy."
First pouring goes okay, I'm able to ignore the 2 year old crying about how he wants to pour it by himself. Reaching over the kids who are wiggling, wiggling, now shoving, more shoving, and then: there it is! The first toddler to fall a chair only 2 minutes after starting.
2 year old: "Owww! He was pushing me!"
My interior monologue: "For chrissakes there's an open flame here you fools! Now just cool it! Whatever you want I'll give it to you, just shut up! Do you want cigarettes? Pornography?!"
Me: "Let me help you up, buddy, you can have the first pancake."
Which are now burning. All 4 of them burned. I'm 1/4 of the way to ruining our breakfast. The next few minutes are a blur: flipping disasters, spilled batter, tiny burnt pancakes, huge burnt pancakes, pancakes on top of other pancakes, me trying to make a mental note to give the doubles-stacked-not-cooked-all-the-way through pancake to the kids, culminating with one finger touching the skillet, a trip over to the sink with a screaming 25-pound man, cold water, more burnt pancakes.
Stove off. Kids hop down.
And now, it's time to give these jittery klutzes syrup!
5 year old: "I want a big stack of pancakes. And water, get me water."
My interior monologue: "Cool it with all the fucking demands you little fascist, I haven't even gotten the plates out!!!"
Me: "How do we ask?"
My interior monologue: "Did I just say that? 'How do we ask?' I am such a pussy."
5 year old: "Please get me pancakes. A big stack. And I want cold water. With ice. Let me pour the syrup!"
2 year old: "I want syrup first! I want to pour it!"
Me: "Just a second, buddy, let me help. Aren't these going to be good?!"
My interior monologue: "Stay calm, Mike, stay calm. That lady with the teenagers told me that these are the moments I'm supposed to cherish, so apparently it gets worse from here? Oh shit! Stay calm. Cherish these moments ... And don't hit anyone."
Serve pancakes, pour syrup. Cut one kid's pancakes. Cut other kid's pancakes. Pour waters. Wipe the first kid's hands, wipe the other kid's face, serve more pancakes to the first one, grab the second one as he tries to escape to the living room with his syrup-covered hands, wipe, wipe, wipe, more pancakes to the second, more sticky faces, more water poured.
Suddenly, Hurricane Pancakes Day is over. I'm about to eat something myself, when the other most dreaded words come from the 5 year old: "Dad, come and play with me!"