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Making Lemonade

A couple weeks ago, Maddie and I were
playing one of our usual games in the park: Bake Stuff. Maddie
fills a cup with water from the sprinkler, then heads to the grassy
area to put in “ingredients” like grass, rocks, and
bark. She’ll stir it up and declare it a cupcake or banana
bread, pour it out, and start again. This particular day, I asked
Maddie what she was making. “Lemonade,” she

This surprised me because 1) my
daughter’s never had lemonade, and 2) to my knowledge,
she’s never SEEN lemonade. I assumed she’d overheard
another kid talking about it and left it at that. After a few days
of lemonade on the brain, though, I broke down and asked my husband
if he had any idea of what she was talking about.

Turns out that on one of the Sesame Streets they watched together,
Elmo and Zoe made lemonade and sold it on the street. They kept
running out and having to go back in to make more. For some reason,
this fascinated my daughter, and to the child who wishes to emulate
All Things Elmo, lemonade became the Next Thing To Do.

To Maddie’s credit, she never pestered me about really
wanting some. But it was such a rich part of her play life that one
day on the way home from the park I bought ten lemons. “What
are all the lemons for, Mommy? Can I have one?” she asked.
(My kid likes to eat lemon slices. Go figure.) “Well, you
could have one, puppy,” I answered casually, “But then
there wouldn’t be enough to make lemonade.”
BOY!” she cried, unable to believe her good fortune.

When the time came, we got out Maddie’s cooking stool and the
juicer. I showed Maddie where the juice comes from in the lemons,
and how the machine squeezes it out. We juiced all the lemons, made
a simple syrup, and added water. And like that, the lemonade was

I poured a small bit into Maddie’s cup and she took it
excitedly. Excitedly she took a big gulp. “Delicious!”
she exclaimed, smacking her lips. “Now I need to go sit
outside to drink it!”

Excuse me?

Apparently Elmo and Zoe drink their lemonade on their front stoop,
so Maddie had to take hers there. Whatever. The point is, my kid
went from raw lemons to lemonade and loved it – loved the
process, the taste, the Mommy time, everything. And when Brian came
home hot and tired later that day from a meeting, Maddie said
solemnly, “Daddy, you could use some lemonade.”

I honestly think she got more joy out of watching her daddy drink
it than from sipping it herself. I really love my kid.

So the lemonade thing went really well. Thankfully, summer’s
coming to an end. Otherwise, we’d have to finish out the Elmo
and Zoe story and sell the lemonade. Which in New York City
requires permits and zoning changes and New Yorkers who
aren’t suspicious about buying some cloudy water to drink.

Maybe next week I’ll get lucky, and Zoe and Elmo will clean
their mommies’ kitchens.


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