Nutella Crashes The Monster Party

Personally, I think 10 pounds of chocolate and a few handfuls of stale multi-colored conversation hearts is the perfect way to say, "I love you in a purely platonic and completely age-appropriate way, even if you did throw an action figure at my Lincoln Logs castle last week." Alexis, however, decided cookies were the way to go when it came time to put together Valentine's Day goodies for her class.

As luck would have it, I had that whole Monster Cookies/Nutella Frankenstein-like thing I wanted to try. Who better to bake experimental cookies for than a bunch of preschoolers? It's not like they are going to complain if they suck, and even if they do, who is going to listen? We're talking about the portion of the population that dips grapes in ketchup and declares the concoction, "So yummy!"

It turns out the Nutella infused Monster Cookies didn't suck. Not that *I* would know. I didn't eat like four of them in one night. Nope. Actually, I know they didn't suck because I got three separate emails from preschool parents asking for the recipe. First of all, if you're asking for the recipe for cookies that were sent for your kid? I kind of love you because I totally would have stolen a cookie, too. Second of all . . . um . . . never mind. I started thinking about Nutella and peanut butter and M&Ms getting together and my brain shut down and went to its happy place.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm . . . Nutella . . . peanut butter . . . M&Ms . . .


Oh, yeah. Recipe. RECIPE. Here's the concoction:

Nutella Monster Cookies

1 stick softened butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups Nutella (Or the whole jar. It doesn't matter.) (Seriously. If the cookie batter seems too liquidy, you can just add more oatmeal.)
1 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
5  cups oatmeal
1 bag plain M&Ms (Yes, the whole bag. Trust me.)
1 cup chocolate chips (Or the whole bag. Whatever.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine butter, brown sugar, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add in the eggs, vanilla, salt, and peanut butter, mixing well. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Drop by the heaping tablespoon onto cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from cookie sheets.

Makes approximately 3 dozen (large) cookies.

 Heart Sprinkles Totally Optional****************************************************************************

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on the pediatrician post. It did help to have confirmation that I'm not crazy and that the short person really is just fine. Since there were no anonymous, "Uh, she's fat," comments, I must not be blind or delusional. This time.

I'm writing a letter to the head honcho to explain why we are no longer willing to see that particular doctor. I'll report back on whatever happens, if anything.


This Is How It Starts

I knew within moments of the doctor walking through the door that we were in trouble. As Alexis sat on the table, all scrunched up as she examined a loose thread on her sock, the newest pediatrician in the practice asked me a series of questions about Alexis' history. Every last answer could have been found in her short file, a fact which screamed at me as I was drilled about past hospitalizations and the like.

"How old was she when that happened?" the doctor asked.

"I don't have the dates in front of me, but I'm sure you do," I replied.

I wasn't trying to be disrespectful. I was genuinely dumbfounded as to how a pediatrician could walk into a room to examine a kid who hadn't been to the doctor in over eleven months without at least skimming her file. I was equally dumbfounded as to how the pediatrician had gotten into the large group practice. None of the other pediatricians had ever approached an exam so grossly unprepared.

The questions finally stopped and were replaced with interpretations of new information. "Let's see, she's just under 43 inches tall . . . that puts her in the 50th percentile," the pediatrician reported.

Not tall enough, I thought. She needs to grow another inch if she wants to ride Space Mountain next month.

"And she weighs 43 pounds . . . so the 75th percentile," she continued.

43 pounds? Soaking weight and holding a brick, maybe, I thought.

"That puts her body mass index in the obese range," the pediatrician said, averting my glare by staring at her computer.

I blinked. And blinked. And blinked. That's what I do when there is a traffic jam of words trying desperately to escape my head all at once. The madder I am, the more words get stuck and the faster I blink. At that moment I was blinking so furiously the paper on the exam table was ruffling in the wind.

SHE'S RIGHT THERE was one of the thoughts stuck in the traffic jam. As in, SHE CAN HEAR YOU and HAVE YOU SEEN HER? BECAUSE SHE'S RIGHT THERE.

None of the words made it out of my mouth. Instead, I sat there blink, blink, blink, blink, blinking.

The doctor turned to Alexis as I blinked furiously. "No more soda or sugary snacks for you, OK?" she said.


"I don't like soda," Alexis said.


"OK, well, make sure you stick to healthy snacks," the doctor continued.


"I like carrots," my "obese" kid reported. "Carrots are healfy!"

BLINKBLINKBLINKBLINKBLINK If you think I trained her to say that, you're wrong. BLINKBLINBKBLINKBLINKBLINK.

The doctor continued with her lecture as I blinked furiously and Alexis sat dumbfounded. The kid doesn't like junk food. She really, truly doesn't. We've never made a big deal out of it to her because, well, WOOOOHOOO! Do you know how fantastic it is having a kid who spits out Pop Tarts after one bite because they're too sweet? We don't want her to catch on to the fact that she's sort of a freak.


Finally, some words managed to navigate through the traffic jam and fell out of my mouth. THE WRONG WORDS.

"Have you seen her head?" I asked out loud. (This? THIS is why I blink when I'm mad. I can't be trusted to open and close my mouth.)

"What do you mean?" the doctor asked.

"The kid is a bobblehead," I . . . uh . . . clarified. (SEE! My mouth can't be trusted!)

The words are true, though. Alexis' head has always been too big for her body. It's a well-documented fact (Reason #153428 it's a good idea to read her damn file before trying to play doctor). She's a skinny, skinny kid with a big ol' square noggin bopping around on top. She's destined to keep those chubby baby cheeks for a while longer, but there isn't an ounce of baby fat left on her anywhere else. Trust me, I've tried to find some, if only so I could tell myself, "See! She's still sort of a baby!"

The doctor was still clearly confused as to what the bobblehead has to do with the kid's weight, but charged on with the appointment as I sat blinking in the corner.

This isn't a case of parental denial. Anyone with two eyes can see that the kid is NOT obese.

That pediatrician is so definitely fired.

Just as soon as I stop blinking.



Music Sooths The Zombie Soul

It was, perhaps, a mistake to be there in the first place. Alexis had already professed herself a little too tired and far too cranky to do much of anything. Given that she's 90% zombie, the words, "I'm sleepy" are very foreign coming from her mouth. But I had been looking forward to going to Phipps Conservatory all week, so we were going no matter what.

As we walked amongst the stunning flowers, Alexis' mood fluctuated from ZOMG SO CRANKY to perfectly reasonable. Back and forth, up and down, her attitude adjusted itself and then fell apart and then adjusted itself again. It was all because she had stayed up until past 11: 30 the previous night but then rose with the worms that morning. Even zombie-children need more than six hours of sleep. THIS I KNOW.

Alexis knew it, too. She even managed to apologize for being a grumpy butt a few times, amazing me with her maturity and self-awareness. Of course, it didn't stop her from whining and ripping a head or two off moments later, but whatever. She tries.

As I was about to give up on trying to enjoy the flowers between moments of having to jump off the tracks so I wasn't hit by the incoming roller coaster of a grumpy kid, loud music began to cut through the air. It came from a man standing in the center of the complex, beating loudly on what looked like a metal bowl. The steelpan clanged with crystal clear notes reminiscent of the Caribbean, bringing a jolt of summer to the middle of a cold winter day.

Alexis, of course, grabbed my hand and drug me towards the music. We stood there . . . and stood there . . . and stood there, She Of Much Grump suddenly transfixed and taken to a happier place. She watched as other kids took a turn at making whimsical music.

She stood transfixed as a little boy let the music creep into his soul and began to dance.

She stood transfixed as the man took back the reigns and composed a perfect rendition of the Super Mario Brothers theme.

She didn't want to join in. She didn't want to dance. She just wanted to be.

Sometimes it's good to just be.