I sometimes wonder if my wife and I are depriving our children of things other people consider normal.



You know, like high-speed Internet, cable television, a game console system that was popular after 1992, Kool-Aid, potato chips, and iPads. This is, of course, the short list.

I sometimes wonder if my wife and I are depriving our children of things other people consider normal.

You know, like high-speed Internet, cable television, a game console system that was popular after 1992, Kool-Aid, potato chips, and iPads. This is, of course, the short list.

I’m not even getting into cell phones. I mean, our oldest one is almost in the second grade and he’s already way behind his classmates in terms of technology no one outside an emergency first-responder should need.

And, yes, in our house a VCR is still normal.

I usually don’t think about the things my wife and I don’t find necessary to everyday life until something happens, something dramatic, something so far beyond accepted social norms I wonder if we’re doing it all wrong. As with most life-altering epiphanies, this involved cookies.

In our house, I’m the cook. Not only because I like to cook and everyone seems to enjoy it, but my wife frightens me if she ventures anywhere near the stove. She makes two things in the kitchen: 1) fruit and vegetable smoothies that are quite tasty, although the spinach gives them an appearance of something usually generated during a plague, and 2) healthy, all-natural* (and delicious, I might add) oat bars our kids won’t go near. Our preschool daughter calls them “Mom’s throw-up bars.” I cook everything else.

As my daughter helped me mix ingredients for no-bake cookies after school one day, she asked a question that quite frankly embarrassed me.

“What are these cookies we’re making?”

What are they? What ARE they? She might as well have asked the color of the sky.

“These are no-bake cookies,” I told her. “They are the greatest cookies in the known universe.”

She frowned. “Well I’ve never had them before.”

What? How is that possible? Could it really be that my children have never eaten a no-bake cookie? They’re old enough to read, do math, in some cases tie their own shoes, and laugh at SpongeBob SquarePants (yes, we don’t have cable, but as I said, we have a VCR. In 1987, they made them to last). And they’ve never eaten no-bake cookies?

I almost broke into tears.

“I’m sorry, pumpkin,” I said, and let her lick the spoon.

They loved the cookies. How could they not? They’re no-bake cookies. Criminals have sued the government because there aren’t enough no-bake cookies served in the federal penitentiary system. Uh, I’m guessing.

“I know why you call them no-make cookies,” the Girl said after the globs of chocolate, peanut butter and oats had cooked enough to eat. “Because you didn’t have to make them.”

Her face glazed in “high-thought” mode, then she smiled.

“I think we should call Mommy’s throw-up bars no-make throw-up bars.”

A throw-up bar by any other name. Hmm. I think my wife and I need parent lessons.

*In this case, “all natural” means we can pronounce all the ingredients.



Jason Offutt’s column has been in continuous publication since 1998 appearing in newspapers and magazines across the United States.