It was only a couple of weeks ago that my seven-year-old watched closely (and I do mean right at my elbow) as I fried up some eggs. The next two days, he was doing it on his own.
The older kids are back to school now, and I’m slowly adjusting to an
earlier morning routine. Very slowly. This morning, however, I was
delightfully surprised to smell eggs cooking. My two sons were hungry
and determined to have egg sandwiches.
Am I nervous about my seven-year-old using the stove, nearly unsupervised, with his four-year-old brother? I could be, but I’m not. I figure it’s another exercise in independence for him, and the fewer condescending or cautionary things I say to him about it, the better off we are.
I look forward to the days when there are at least four of us in the kitchen cooking together. Last night, my aforementioned older son also watched the pot come to a boil and cooked the angel hair for our eggplant parmigiana. For me, that’s one less thing to worry about and more time to focus on frying the eggplant (and I also did squash for my picky ones). The day will come when I have all hands on deck, but I also know that it will require much patience on my part. We know it’s “easier” to do things our way, without others underfoot, but you don’t want to miss out on the chance for the kids to learn, to hear the wonderful communication between their parents, to contribute, to share their day with you through their own stories. There are loads of lessons and joys to be had in the kitchen, and, of course, there will be lots of messes, too.
So, grab all aprons (so you don’t mess your clothes with all this fried food), bring in the young apprentices and get cooking. Family Fun has a kids’ cooking section. Rachel Ray has a cookbook my older daughter enjoys, and there are countless other resources on the www.
Let go and have fun!