It was the picture-perfect Sunday afternoon. With the happy heart of a mom who had all the laundry folded, I watched the scene of snow falling softly out of the window of our new house, while my kids played happily in our living room.
That’s when I decided to ruin everything by making chocolate chip cookies.
“Hey, who wants to make cookies?” I called out to my kids. They soon came tumbling into the kitchen, clamoring for the coveted spot by the mixer. It’s here that I need explain that we had just moved and were all still getting used to our new space. While we had cookie-making down to an exact science in our previous home, this would be our first time attempting cookies in our new kitchen, which meant that we all had to find our new “spots,” stools, and perches in which to make cookies.
So, there we were. I supervised the ingredient-passing, as my two youngest daughters took on the tasks of dumping them into the mixer. We added one egg, then two, as the stand mixer churned away. We were just getting ready to add the vanilla extract when suddenly, both of my daughters started screaming in horror.
I looked down to see my 3-year-old daughter completely bent over the bowl. Her blonde braid had gotten caught in the mixer’s attachment. Around and around her hair spun in the mixer, seemingly intent on tugging it right from her head. The mixer didn’t slow down or stop, and for just a brief second, I seemed as if it was happening in slow motion. What was happening? Was my mixer really trying to scalp my daughter? That’s not a thing that can happen, is it?
I leapt to action and unplugged the mixer. My husband, who had been in the living room, was hot on my heels. Together, we tried to calm our daughter down enough to untangle her hair from the mixer while assessing for damage. She was shaken and experiencing discomfort, but overall, she seemed OK.
We surmised that with our new stools, she was simply at a different position than our kids had been in our eight years of cookie-making. And somehow, she was perfectly aimed with her braid at the mixer’s level. My husband and I said a prayer of thanks that the mixer had been on the lowest setting, that I had been standing right there, and that the damage hadn’t been worse.
But the next morning, as I combed what I thought was a large tangle out of her beautiful blonde hair, a quiet clump released into the brush instead. I was shocked when the entire back side of her hair ended up in my hand. Throughout the rest of the day, her hair just kept falling out in chunks. I tried my best to hide it from her. Devastated, she sobbed, “Mama, do I still look pretty?”
It hit me how much worse the damage could have been. I realized how wrong I was to never even consider this possible danger during an innocent time making cookies with my kids.
I am one of “those” moms, always imagining worst-case scenarios. I cut grapes. I am wary of someone snatching my kids in stores. I drive my husband nuts with car seat safety. But I never considered the possibility of a kid getting tangled in a mixer while making cookies.
So, I am here not only as proof that this can happen, but to issue a warning this holiday season as you bake all the things with your kids. Keep an extra eye on them around stand mixers. Be sure to keep little fingers, stray pigtails, braids, and ponytails away from the mixer’s attachment, where they can get sucked in and tangled very easily.
Yes, the mixer does come with warning to keep hair, hands, and spatulas away from moving parts, so I take full responsibility for the accident. And while I certainly don’t want to scare anyone away from making cookies this holiday season, I want to remind you to be extra cautious about potential entanglement hazards and use the lowest setting whenever possible — especially when baking with little ones.