The Easy Bake Oven
Our Christmas gift lists were compiled unusually early this year – before the Halloween decorations went up (and were taken down). By mid-October we were holding the map to Christmas 2009 and were able to break it up into mini-lists for the grandparents. Unlike holidays past, the list was manageable. Doable, even.
Bubaloo didn’t list a string of costly electronics. His list was a collection of items like Lego and Bionicles. He only asked for a single big ticket item. A telescope.
Bella, on the other hand, stuck to craft items and one very unusual selection for a 14 year-old girl. She was adamant that this one thing was the gift she wanted most in the entire world.
It was the kind of gift that made us feel a smidge uncomfortable and question our role as parents. In the world of girl cruelty, we’re often torn between encouraging her to hold on to her childhood for as long as possible and taking the first tentative steps towards adulthood. We want to her to experience the childhood she never had. But, we’re also aware that she’s an easy target on the playground and that we’re enabling her status as a social pariah.
The gift that caused this source of discomfort? Bella asked for an Easy Bake Oven.
We have a stove. We have a stove that she knows how to use. We have a stove that she makes sweet treats in for the leadership bake sale at school. I’m not sure that one can love cooking with a light bulb after having experienced baking in a gas oven, but she was adamant that she wanted an Easy Bake Oven.
It arrived on Christmas morning. Nicely packaged under the tree thanks to Nana.
The following week she took it out to whip up her first creation. It even came with two types of cookies. The packaging noted that the size of the cookie was not to scale (basically that the cookies she would make would be even smaller that the ones pictured). She even allowed her brother to help.
At 14 years-old, I don’t think that she was “wowed” by the magic of an Easy Bake Oven. In fact, I think she was a bit disappointed. Finally having her own Easy Bake Oven represented something that was more powerful than the experience of actually using it. As I overheard her say on the phone when asked about her Christmas haul, “I got an Easy Bake Oven.” Quickly followed by, “But I asked for it because I never got to have one as a kid.”