Pinterest win

My husband’s brother and grandmother came over this week for a few hours, and it was awesome to have someone hold the bébé for awhile so I could get some important stuff done. Like make Oreo cheesecake cupcakes, a total Pinterest win!

 

Amazing recipe!

It was a super easy recipe, though in my oven they needed almost an hour to be done. I also didn’t make the ganache, because I didn’t have enough time, but they were still delicious without. So delicious, we ate them all before I got a good picture!

To make them, I finally got to use the KitchenAid mixer my husband surprised me with a few weeks ago. He knows how much I love to bake, and it’s pretty high on the list of things I miss doing right now. My brother-in-law said I should go for a walk while they looked after the bébé, but the weather was nasty, and baking is just as relaxing for me. Having people bring food and using up what I stocked the freezer with are both good things, but there’s nothing like whipping up a fresh batch of cookies or fixing (and eating!) a delicious dinner to chill out after a long day.

I have a feeling that what I really miss right now is control, and with cooking you control (almost) everything. So it’s no wonder just thirty minutes in the kitchen did just as much good as a walk or a bath. And there’s the extra joy of a Pinterest win. Chocolate + ego boost + a break for my arms from rocking the bébé = happy new momma.

Wanting to impress my mother-in-law

I think in any culture, relationships with the in-laws can be tricky. I’ve never had an American mother-in-law, so I can’t really compare my experience here to anything, besides what friends tell me and what I see on TV.  However, I do think I managed to get pretty lucky. I’m not saying she’s perfect or that we agree on everything, but my mother-in-law has treated me like a perfectly capable adult from the very beginning (my husband, of course, will remain her little boy for the rest of his life). She’s friendly without being overbearing, interested in art and travelling, always sends us home with food, and she even seems to have gotten used to some of my more unusual language and cultural quirks. And besides the one, big, obligatory blow-out during wedding planning (which, after the wedding, she totally admitted I was right about), she’s never tried to force her opinions or advice on me. Sometimes she even asks mine on things like museums to visit during her travels. Overall, we accept and like each other a good deal, while acknowledging that we are very different people who will never be BFFs, but that’s totally okay for both of us.

That being said, I do still feel the need to impress my mother-in-law as often as I can. Maybe to show her that she got lucky too (I bake, I sew, I build Ikea furniture, I’m every mother’s dream for her son!). Or maybe because of my middle child syndrome, I need all the motherly attention I can get. Probably a little of both.

This weekend we celebrated the birthdays of both my brother- and sister-in-law. My MIL had ordered something for her daughter that hadn’t arrived yet and called me Saturday morning to see if I would have time to go into town so there’d be at least a little something to open the next day. She told me to get a t-shirt “kind of flashy, maybe for our trip to la Reunion this summer, and not like 100€ or anything.”

This was a whole new level in our MIL/DIL relationship. She doesn’t tend to involve me in “family drama” (not that this was at all dramatic), which I have always interpreted as her treating me like an adult with my own life, not as her not considering me part of the family. The biggest favor she’s asked me in the past was to make cheesecakes for a dinner she hosted for out-of-town guests. Liking my cheesecake is one thing, but trusting my taste in fashion is pretty serious. And it’s really not even my taste, it’s my interpretation of her taste for her daughter, with fairly vague instructions. So to say I spent quite some time looking in a few different stores trying to find the right thing is a bit of an understatement.

I’m not sure why this was so much more stressful than the cheesecakes. Maybe because you can always blame cooking failures on the equipment or the ingredients or the weather. But if she didn’t like the t-shirt, I couldn’t exactly blame the store for having ugly stuff. In the end, it was my choice and mine alone.

Presents were opened before we ate, so I didn’t have to sit through the entire 3-hour French Sunday lunch worrying about it. And . . . both the MIL and SIL were very happy with what I picked! Hurray!

So while my baking skills have been established for awhile, it seems I have now impressed her with my eye for fashion as well. It’s natural that our relationship changes as the years go by, and I’m happy that it’s still developing in a positive way. It puts me at ease for the big change coming this summer, and the new little family member that will change our relationship in all sorts of ways!