The day started out happily enough. My friend, Christy, brought me two jars of apple pie filling she had canned the previous fall.
“All you have to do is dump both jars into a pie crust and bake,” she said. “You may need to dump out some of the juice so it’s not too runny.”
“I have a pie crust in the freezer just begging to be baked,” I replied and laughed. When I look back upon my innocence of that morning, I can only shake my head and sigh. Having a four-year-old and a seventeen-month-old should have taught me that nothing could be that easy.
On the way home I was envisioning warm apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The kids were in the back seat and the tiny tyrant was screaming because big brother was touching her car seat. He wasn’t even touching her, just the seat. I was in apple pie heaven, I could even smell it baking so what happened next is mostly my fault. Erin, aka tiny tyrant or the princess–as in you don’t touch the princess, picks up her sippy cup and slams it into big bro’s face. His hand leaves her car seat and grabs his face. The scream that followed would have put the high-heel wearing victim in a slasher film to shame. My brain is violently slammed back into my body as I have to referee before Aidan, big brother extraordinaire, can punch the princess in her face.
“If you two will be good until we get home, you can help make the apple pie,” I said. I was still thinking it was going to go as planned. Remove pie crust from freezer, dump contents of jar, and bake. Easy peasy. I can only guess that the thought of hot apple pie and ice cream somehow made me delusional. It’s not like I was new to the mom thing. I have a four-year-old. That alone should have made me realize it wasn’t going to go according to plan. Add in a seventeen-month-old trouble-making tyrant and there’s no way it was going to be easy.
We get into the house safely and sanely. I immediately go to the freezer and remove my pie crust. Problem number one: pie crust is broken into a thousand tiny shards. Okay, I think, surely I can make a pie crust. It can’t be too difficult. Again, I have to blame this thinking on the desire for warm apple pie. I had never made a pie crust before so I go to the cookbook. I pull out all the ingredients and let Aidan help to measure and stir. Problem number two arises when Erin, never happy to be left out, raids the trash can and pulls out the broken pie crust and pan. She proceeds to scatter the pie shell pieces around the kitchen. I can only assume she was hoping to trap some unwary traveler. So I get the broom and sweep up the pieces and throw them away again.
I roll out the pie crust and put it in the bottom of the pan. I then pour some of the liquid from the jar so the pie won’t be too runny. My mistake is that I didn’t pour the liquid down the sink. I see that now, but at the time I thought I might need to add some of the liquid back in or maybe it could go over the ice cream. So I poured the liquid into a bowl. I TURN MY BACK, yes you read that correctly, and pour the apple pie mix into my newly made pie crust. As I am putting the second pie crust on top of the pie, I hear “yum, yummy” and what can best be described as slurping noises. I turn around and see my darling daughter with her head in the bowl, lapping up the juice from the apple pie mix. She has the bowl tilted at an angle so she’s also pouring it down the front of her body and onto the floor.
I calmly put the pie in the oven, because I do have my priorities, and strip down the baby. I leave the pile of clothes on the kitchen floor and take Erin into the bathroom where I promptly dump her in the tub. When they are that messy, there’s no sense trying to strategically wipe them off. Only a bath will do the trick. Of course the four-year-old can’t be left out of bath time, so he jumps in as well. After a scrubbing and some play, I get them out, dry them off, and hustle them to their room for a diaper and some clothes. I leave them in their room and go to work on the kitchen. I put her clothes in the sink and get out the bucket to scrub the floor, thinking, mistakenly, that it will be a quick clean-up. I can smell the pie baking and it smells just as heavenly as I had imagined.
The problem comes in when I scrub up the now sticky and half-dried mess off the floor and realize the color my floor should be and the color it is, is not the same. There is a nice clean circle now and the rest of the floor doesn’t match. So I start scrubbing the rest of the floor on my hands and knees. I am thinking about the apple pie, cleaning the floor, and that the sound of silence means the kids aren’t fighting for once. What the silence actually means is that Erin is no longer where I put her, which I discover a couple minutes later when I think I am finally finished. Erin has snuck by me and gotten into the bathroom where, amazingly enough, I forgot to put up the baby shampoo when I was finished. She took her brief unwatched moment and instead of doing something brilliant like constructing the Eiffel Tower out of blocks, she squirted baby shampoo on the floor. I take her to her room again, while exhaling a disgusted sigh for myself. I take the pie from the oven, inhale its delicious aroma, and sit it way back out of reach so it can cool. I then take my bucket to the bathroom to clean the shampoo up.
It should be no surprise for me to discover that the bathroom floor is also not the color the manufacturer intended and that there is dust on the baseboard and mildew around the shower, but of course I am slightly shocked. So I set to work, once again on hands and knees, scrubbing. I work my way back out the door and take the bucket to the kitchen to dump out. Instead of immediately dumping the bucket, I set it down to go check on the kids. They are playing nicely, for once. So I go back and of course get distracted by the clothes on the bed that need folding. I quickly fold them and take an armload to the kids’ room to put away. I walk by the kitchen, which I left not three minutes before, and see my dearest Erin mopping, on her hands and knees, where she’s poured about two inches of water from the bucket onto my once upon a time clean floor.
I check the pie, again I have my priorities in order, and it has managed to avoid Erin’s curious fingers so I pick her up, dry her off and change her clothes AGAIN. I set her down in front of the television, don’t even think about condemning me, and go get towels to dry and re-clean the floor. Once I have that done, I put the towels and Erin’s sticky clothes in the washing machine, and collapse for a brief moment beside the children on the couch, which is where my husband finds me when he comes home about five minutes later. I hand over the responsibility of keeping the kids alive to him and go make dinner with apple pie and ice cream for desert. As I take that first bite of apple pie and ice cream, all I can think is yeah, this was an apple pie kind of day.
This humorously true account of a simple plan turning into a series of complicated events was written by Melinda Foster Sanders, one of my best friends. I thank her for allowing me to share it.