Tuesday, February 26

kids in the kitchen

i was soooo tired yesterday.  it really does take that many "o's" to describe how beat down, dog tired i was.  i had worked out hard at the gym, ran errands all afternoon, and was just tired.  i wanted a nap while my 4 year old only wanted mommy to read one more story (i've read to you for an hour already!), watch one more tv show (no, you're done.), have one more thing to eat (you've already emptied the fridge into your belly!), and play one game of "in a pickle" (just plain, no, baby.)  and when this mama's is this tired, her nerves become a little raw.

by the time i had all three kids home, i wanted nothing more than to be by myself.  but in our small home, that just doesn't happen.  i wanted to lock myself up in my bedroom, but i had to cook dinner. i start browning the ground beef when my daughter comes in the kitchen to ask to help.  i told her that it would be best if i just cooked dinner by myself because i want to be alone.  that's when that sweet angel of mercy says, "yes, but you can be in your bedroom by yourself, while i cook dinner."   i didn't hesitate.  i handed her that wooden spoon, told her to be careful and went to lay down.  by myself.

my husband came home, saw how tired i was, and told the kids that he was going to be mom tonight.  (bless him.)  i came out from hiding when i heard them finishing the pasta for dinner.  i didn't want to get up, but i knew i had to get the side salad done.  i go to wash the lettuce and my husband tells me that natalie had already made a fruit salad for dinner.  that bowl of blueberries, grapes, sliced strawberries, and chopped apples absolutely made my night.

and THAT mamas and papas is why we teach our children how to cook.  so that when i'm tired and don't want to cook, they can pull a meal together instead.  teach them how to use a knife, how to handle a hot skillet, how to season foods so that YOU can have a night off!  most people will tell you that kids should cook because it makes them more likely to try new foods, it teaches them self-sufficiency, it helps them to know where their food comes from, and blah, blah, blah.  while all that is well and good, i'm hear to say that the best reason is that they're cooking and you're not.   woo-hoo, can i get a big amen on that one? nothing is better than laying late in the bed on a saturday morning having a quiet conversation with your husband while your kids are whipping up buttermilk pancakes from scratch.  well, there is one thing better....when one of your sweet young'uns brings you a hot cup of coffee that you didn't have to brew.

of course, just to put this in perspective...my kids aren't always eager in the kitchen.  there are many mornings when they can't seem to pour their own bowl of cereal.  (insert exaggerated eye roll here)  they don't cook a whole lot but i'm determined to dump this task on them encourage them to take on the challenge of cooking more often.

and one more note, i spent a lot of time WITH my kids teaching them how to cook BEFORE i trusted them to be around the hot stove and sharp knives without me.  i started them young, depending on their own maturity level and dexterity.   and then slowly gave them control.   i still won't let my daughter use the BIG chef knife, but she knows which in the block she can cut with.   they have to learn somehow and i don't believe in shielding them from all possible danger.  all i'm saying is don't be stupid about when it comes to having your kids in the kitchen.  :)


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