Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Close Call With (Ninja) Turtle Pancakes

So, this having the grandkids overnight on Fridays is starting to get routine.  They arrive, they want to play with puzzles, K3 wants to listen to music and dance, they plan to make pancakes with me for breakfast on Saturday. . .

The pancake making might be getting a little out of hand, though.  I have made 'regular' pancakes, Mickey Mouse head pancakes, snowman pancakes.  I'm keeping the bunny shaped pancakes a secret until closer to Easter, and haven't even done any of the additional ingredient pancakes yet, like chocolate chip pancakes (where the chocolate chips form a smiley face), or blueberry pancakes (or even strawberry  pancakes, if the strawberries are cut fairly small). My pancake repertoire is probably unusually large, as I like to cook, and I was pretty young when my kids were little, (not to mention most of the time I didn't work outside of school hours) so it was fun to get creative with breakfast.

This past Friday night, as the grandkids were going to bed, Toad requested ninja turtle pancakes.  He is in a (Teenage Mutant) Ninja Turtle phase right now.  Somewhere, in the recesses of my memory, I vaguely remember making turtle shaped pancakes when DS1 and DS2 were little. Twenty years ago? I told Toad I wasn't sure if I could make ninja turtles, but I would give it a shot.

I was awakened (for the second time, since I'd gotten up with DH at 4:15 a.m. to make sure he got off to the airport on time for a work trip) just after dawn on Saturday by a little voice coming from the hallway:

"Grandma, it's morning!  We have to make ninja turtle pancakes!"

So, still in our jammies, Toad, K3 and I went downstairs to the kitchen, donned our aprons, heated up the griddle, and mixed up pancake batter.  I again told Toad that I wasn't sure I could make the pancakes look like ninjas (I was sure I couldn't, short of a mold that would define their eye-masks, etc), but that I would make him some turtle pancakes.

Taking a large spoon and a small one (teaspoon), I poured a spoonful of batter onto the griddle with the larger spoon.  With the small spoon, to this I added a small circle of batter for a head, and on the opposite end, just a little triangle of batter for a tail.  Then came four small dribbles of batter for the legs, two on each side of the 'shell' body.

At which point Toad informed me that it didn't look like a ninja turtle.  I apologized, telling him it was the best turtle I could make. He acquiesced that it did look like a turtle, but it wasn't a ninja turtle and he didn't like it.  So I started making Mickey Mouse heads with the remaining batter, since K3 had requested Mickey Mouse pancakes.

When the turtle had cooked through on the bottom and was ready to be flipped, it suddenly became an acceptable turtle to Toad, and he asked that I make a second one just like it.  Since grandmas are suckers for doing things to make their grandkids smile, I painstakingly created another turtle with the last of the pancake batter.

Life looked great.  Toad had his turtle pancakes, K3 had her Mickey Mouse pancakes, we all sat down to the table and said grace.  That's when things began to descend into chaos.

I went to butter Toad's pancakes, and he immediately protested.  He did not want butter on his turtles.  Okay, I put the butter on K3's Mickey head instead (thank goodness she was being easy and not as opinionated as her brother that morning).

Then I started cutting up Toad's pancakes into bite sized pieces. The kid went ballistic. You'd think I was torturing him.  Killed his dog (had he a dog) or something.  He howled.  He nearly jumped out of his chair.  He had actual tears popping out of his eyes.

"NO, Grandma!  Don't cut my turtles!"

Oh shit. Here are these decapitated turtle pancakes with amputated appendages and there is this two year old grandchild having a nuclear meltdown at the breakfast table.  Think fast, Grandma, or your morning is going to suck.  And Grandpa is blissfully unaware, on his airplane ride to Phoenix.  No one can help me now. . .

Toad insisted I fix his pancakes.  He wanted them uncut.  I'm not about to reheat the griddle, mix a new batch of batter, and hold off breakfast while I fashion and cook two new, whole, turtle pancakes.  Think, think, think, think.  How to remedy this?

In a flash of brilliance (and a ton of desperation), I dropped the knife and used my fingers to line the cut up pieces back into recognizable turtles. As I'm putting legs back to bodies and heads back where they belong, I cheerfully say "Look!  It's like a turtle puzzle!"  Because Toad absolutely loves puzzles right now.  And he's really good at putting puzzles together, too (almost better than his sister who is nearly 5 years old).

He stopped his brokenhearted wailing, and looked from me to his plate.  I finished reassembling his pancakes.

"See?  Now you have puzzle pancakes that are turtles! And when you eat the pieces, you'll have a turtle puzzle in your belly!"  I told him with a big reassuring grin.

His look of skepticism changed to one of delight.  He even smiled as he requested syrup for his turtles.  Then he ate every single bite of his pancakes.

Phew.  Crisis averted.  Grandma lives to enjoy another day.

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