Momma’s Helper

An exercise using the words gallivant, gorilla, gingerbread, garage, and gray.


“What’cha doing, Momma?” Nikki asked as she skipped into the kitchen, clutching her much-loved, well-worn gorilla.

Elizabeth looked up from the island where she had laid out the mixings for her favorite cookies, even if they were more popular in the winter. She couldn’t keep from smiling at her red-headed four-year-old daughter. From the lopsided, sort of ponytail, she guessed Nikki had decided to do something with her own hair this morning after getting dressed for the day.

“Want me to help fix your hair?” she asked cautiously. Her daughter was independent and liked doing things her way. Like she’d chosen a bright yellow top and a turquoise skirt to wear, instead of the jeans and more conservative pink shirt Elizabeth had laid out earlier.

Nikki tugged out one of the gray bar stools and plopped Gloria Gorilla on the countertop, then scrambled onto the stool. “I done it myself. You’re busy.” She touched the ponytail. “I like it.”

“Oh, sweetie, I do too. Really.” Elizabeth reached for the bowl in front of her and bit back the urge to laugh at Nikki’s annoyed look. “It’s just that sometimes I have trouble getting my hair to behave.” Her short hair often gave her fits. Some days it parted one way, some days another way. Basically, it did whatever it felt like doing. She’d given up years ago caring.

Nikki flipped her ponytail with a small hand, and it threatened to come completely free of the precarious hold the hair tie had on it. “My hair’s behavin’.”

They heard the loud groaning of the garage door going up. “One of these days Daddy needs to oil that thing.” It wouldn’t be happening anytime soon. It never seemed to be a priority for her husband. No doubt he was headed off gallivanting to town to share coffee with a few of his golf buddies before they hit the course. To gossip about the goings-on in town. Of course, he’d grouch, “Men don’t gossip.” Right!

Nikki leaned across the counter and asked again, “What’cha doing, Momma?”

“I’m making gingerbread boys.” She smiled at her now wide-eyed daughter. “Think you can help me?”

“Gloria wants to help too.” Nikki turned the foot-tall gorilla to face Elizabeth. “She’s a good helper. Like me.”

“Yes, you are,” Elizabeth agreed and let Nikki pick out the cookie cutters to use this time.

An hour later, she was thinking how much easier it would have been to make the cookies herself. Making the cookies had been the simple task. Cleaning up the flour and dough-covered counter, scooping up the numerous dough crumbles off the floor, and wiping off Nikki’s face, arms, and clothes were the harder tasks ahead.

Nikki’s green eyes were dancing with delight as she waved her hand at the large batch of mostly intact gingerbread boys. “We done it, Momma!”

At her daughter’s huge grin of accomplishment, all Elizabeth could do was smile. “Yes, we did.”

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