There are fewer things in life that make me happier than the look on Mambos face when she is excited about an outcome. When she says ‘We did it!’ or her latest ‘I win!’ These pancakes are being shared not because we are out here being culinary experts, no. We cook all the time. It’s how they came about that I believe is worthy of mention.
Dear (daughter) Mambo,
You won’t remember the time of THE Corona, but you were sick almost right through it. You coughed so much you scared yourself twice throwing up. It was crazy, you cried, I cried, we were all worried. You are still you though and 3 weeks of cough-turned- cold won’t get you down, so… All this to say, you were sick, we were all on lockdown.
One of the things we do to make the nebuliser treatment easier is to tell you stories. The adults all take turns, granted, I have told the most stories because I have administered 90% of the medication sessions so far. I am not running out of stories, but we do get creative. So on the day of the rainbow pancakes, you asked for a story about Mambo and Muvaki.
I have been telling you these stories for almost a year now, and I know you love them, my way of keeping you somewhat connected to your family, and mostly my dad. So today, Mambo and Muvaki were making pancakes with Nanny.
As I was telling the story, I decided to make it longer by making different colour pancakes, so you could decide on the colours and keep our storytime interactive and engaging. I told you how Nanny ‘flipped the pancakes for Mambo and Muvaki, because little children can only watch how to flip pancakes, they can’t flip them. A Grown-up has to do that.’
At that point, your grandmother walked in. I continued to describe what a spatula was to you in great detail ‘It has a handle, see? And it has the holes in it?’ Nanny decided that she would just go and fetch the spatula and show you. That was all you needed. Within no time, the spatula was in your hand and you were flipping air-pancakes. Bliss.
We finished up storytime and as soon as your mask came off, you decided ‘Mommy, I want to make rainbow pancakes like in the story.’ Of course, your mom and your granny were delighted to help with that request. So off we set to make the pancakes. Nanny spent most of the time washing the dishes while chatting to us, while you and I made the dough. You mix like a pro now, and you are just under 3 years old. You know what comes next. ‘Now milk, Mommy’.
You chose the colours, red, blue and yellow, just like in the story. We mixed, more chatting, more mixing, set up our pan, more chatting, more mixing, and finally, we were ready to put in our final labours.
Your eyes widened at the sight of the first pancake. ‘A BLUE PANCAKE! WOOOOOOOOW MOMMY! WELL DONE’. I mean, heck, even I was proud of myself on this one – the way you said it. You get me every, single, time. Every time. You patiently waited until I was almost done with the pancakes – I cannot say the same about Nanny. She got her maple syrup out quick-fast and was on those pancakes, instantly.
One for her, one for you. You still waited until we had more colours done. The final one was the hit. Our purple pancake made of blue and red. A one-of-a-kind beauty.
That evening as we all sat around the table for dinner, you told us that pancakes were the best part of your day. Your dad thought so too, as did your gran. Though I definitely enjoyed making them with you, I think it shares the favourite part of my day by telling you the story about making them and watching you eat them… If I am honest.
I learn so many things through our interactions daily, but I also want to be sure that you learn too. Though there is no real lesson here, I am reminded to be grateful for the little things. The times where, just by adding a little colour into our usual recipe, the whole experience is completely different. We make it different. We become different. And for that moment you are my number one fan and I am the best storyteller alive because my stories come to life.
Rainbow pancakes, magical.
*For those who want the Recipe, it is a variation of my mom’s (her mom and her mom before that’s) recipe:
– 1.5 Cups Flour
– 2 Tbsp Sugar
– 2 Tbsp Margarine/ Butter
– 2 Eggs
– Pinch of salt (Don’t forget the salt)
– Some vanilla essence
– 1 cup milk (or thereabouts)
– I add Cinnamon for added love
Shau is a passionate mother, writer, digital media strategist and women’s right advocate who resides in South Africa where she and her partner raise their daughter Mambo. Shau works full time as a Digital Media Content Strategist and part-time as a blogger and dreamer. Through her blog, www.mommyandmambo.com she shares her unfiltered journey to motherhood as a youngish, pan-African mother raising her daughter to be strong, bold, loving, independent and carefree. Happiness is love and adventure.