Just a few posts ago, I wrote about how I was homeschooling my toddler. I was enjoying that experience to the hilt and thought of continuing it for as long as I could. I could see how much it was helping my child learn faster and it was the best way to fill up my time as well. But life has its own quirky way of sneaking up on you and changing it without any prior warning. Usually I’m up for such change of tracks but this new development put me out of my comfort zone and overnight I was fraught with worry about how I was going to manage things from now on. I should have been happy and don’t get me wrong I am happy with this new development but when you are a mum, your happiness has to wait in line till your child’s priorities have been sorted out.
The thing is, after a gap of 2 whole years, I landed myself a job in Bahrain. This was when I had almost given up hope and decided on focusing on doing something entirely different with my life. My first instinct was to stress out about how I was going to manage Mimi. I wanted to home school her given its definite advantages but now with a full-time job which was too good to give up, I had to make alternate arrangements. My kind housekeeper obliged to play the nanny for certain part of the day until I got back home from work. So with that in place, I decided to look for a school that would not only accommodate my child in the middle of the year but also fulfill certain criteria that were important to me with respect to its curriculum and discipline. Most of the schools refused outright asking me to apply the following year and some just didn’t make the cut. Finally I found a leveler in a school that was close to my home and seemed right in most ways for Mimi to attend. Thankfully, they had one last place to offer her and the deal was sealed.
Her first day was on the 1st of March. I constantly spoke to Mimi the previous few days about how she was going to school and what she would do there. I even prompted her every now and then about waking up early since she had to leave by 7 30 am. I never in my dreams thought that she would actually pay heed to what I was telling her. For a 2.5 year-old , she is pretty smart, I must say. She woke up at 6 45 am on the first day on her own and quietly let me dress her up. To see her in her white shirt and beige skirt ( which was too long btw) and her red sweater, I was shedding a silent tear on the side. She posed for me and seemed happy to be going to school. The moment she entered the school compound, she let-go off my hand and rushed to the playpen. She was excited to see the swings, the slides and all her favourite fun activities in one place. I had a tough time coaxing her to see her class. Her class teacher seemed like a kind but firm sort of lady and that put my mind at rest. Leaving Mimi with them was difficult as she is not used to being restricted in a room. After some distraction tactics, I managed to slip away and come home. To return to an empty house seemed very weird. I found myself fidgety and anxious. I worried about Mimi and whether she would have had her breakfast or not or whether she would sit in one place or not. I used that time to bake something (obviously) so that I don’t combust and evaporate. I made these dainty little cups of joy using ofcourse our ( Mimi’s and mine) favourite ingredient Chocolate and another beautiful ingredient Mascarpone. Making these required some focus and that helped me calm down.
While I make/bake something with the intention of blogging about it afterward, I usually start the post in my head with the process. The story, the outline, the character building, the sweet reminiscences start swirling in my head as I start putting the ingredients together. And by the time the task is done, my blog post is ready to be published in my head. So then, it is only a matter of typing the words down on the blog page.
So during this chocolate mascarpone exercise, I thought about how Mimi and I are going through similar experiences in our lives right now. But Mimi has had a head start since she started school before I join work. I join work this Sunday ( 11th of March) and it would be my first after 2 long years. I have had some sort of preparation only because of the zillions of interviews that I had attended but to actually imagine myself in office- that was scary. I thought about how I would have to look serious all the time, wear stuffy coats and trousers ( as opposed to the breezy night pyjamas and comfortable Ts that I never get out of) and attempt making adult-like conversations with my colleagues ( in contrast to the baby talk that I have practised with my child these 2 years). How in the world was I going to fit in? I am going to feel like a fish out of water the first day. And since my role is primarily going to be a client facing one, I don’t know if I still have it in me to hold anyone’s attention. All of a sudden, the whole job thing started to look like a mistake. I wasn’t feeling up to it. NOT AT ALL. My heart began to race and I had to call my mother. Though I didn’t tell her about my anxieties, but I told her about Mimi and her school. I always feel a lot better after talking to her. She told me about the time when she had to leave me and my brother with our nannies to go back to work and how difficult it was for her ( this was without any prompting from me about my chaotic mind frame).
Only when we have our own children do we realize what all our parents would have endured raising us and we take it all for granted. Unfortunately, these bursts of realization come very late. So talking to my mum laid most of my fears to rest and I concentrated on getting my tiny desserts done well. I don’t know where I got the recipe from but I must thank whoever that person/cookbook/blogger is. These fabulous pieces of ecstasy are meant for those special occasions; the first days sort of celebration. Indulgent but not being overly so.
Recipe for Chocolate Mascarpone Mini Cups
Makes about 20 cups
100 gm plain chocolate ( for the cups. You will need petite -size paper cups to make these chocolate cups)
100 gm milk chocolate
200 gm mascarpone cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
cocoa powder for dusting
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Break 100gm plain chocolate into pieces and place it in a bowl. Set it over a saucepan of hot water. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Spoon the melted chocolate into 20 paper cups ( the smallest ones), spreading it up the sides, with a small spoon or pastry brush. I think the pastry brush helps to spread it out evenly and reduces waste. Place these tiny paper cups upside down on the baking tray and leave to set.
2. When set, carefully peel away the paper cases. You have to be very careful lest the chocolate breaks. I had some mishaps but I used those broken chocolate cups anyways. It is chocolate after all. I cannot let anything chocolate go in waste.
3. For the filling, melt the chocolate. Place the mascarpone cheese in a bowl and beat in the vanilla essence. To this add the melted chocolate until well combined. Leave the mixture to chill in the refrigerator, beating occasionally, until firm enough to pipe. I was excited to do the piping but my piping nozzle kept dropping off every time I tried to squeeze the chocolate mixture out of it, into the cups. Finally I gave up and used a spoon to fill the cups.
4. In case you have a better quality piping bag and nozzle with you, a star nozzle would be the best to pipe the mixture into the cups. Decorate the cups with a dusting of cocoa powder. Keep in the refrigerator until you want to serve.
*If you have paper cups of a thicker variety, it would be easier to have better shapes.
These were an instant hit with Mimi and my husband. I even sent some off to my friend Gayathri, whose birthday is on the 11th of March. I dedicate these chocolate mini cups to Gayathri and wish her a beautiful birthday. I know she would make a spectacular cake on her birthday for herself and I cannot wait to have a taste of it.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GAYATHRI
While you all read this post, I would be in office trying to look professional. I feel the giggles coming already! I must imagine how difficult it must be for Mimi to step out of her cocoon into an unknown territory without knowing a thing about what lies before her. Atleast I have 5 years of work experience before I took a break. In that terms, Mimi has it tougher but I am sure both Mimi and I will manage and succeed by taking baby steps while enjoying the process.
We need your best wishes and prayers so that we manage to tread these unknown paths with confidence and great optimism.