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Ella’s Turn

July 30, 2012

She is proud from the beginning. Fully confident that she is going to make something GOOD. When asked, she knew immediately what she would prepare for the family: mini meatloaves (something I’ve made maybe once?), colored raw peppers, pineapple, and a giant cookie. Tonight is her turn and she can hardly wait.

She is good at reading the recipe, but I quickly realize cooking is a lesson in math, especially with summer brains rusty from two months of being worksheet-free. Note to self: when asking your children to cook, provide them with measuring cups and spoons that don’t have the measurements rubbed off. We begin an exhausting conversation of cup sizes, tablespoon vs. teaspoon, and fraction conversions because the 1/2 and 1 cups are dirty.

She starts with a win (thank you Lord!) Glee spreads across her face as she successfully cracks her first egg! The flour spillage stumbles her as well. I smile.

It is Sunday. Olympics are on in the background, but I know Aidan is not far, lurking for the right moment to taste-test and now that he is the resident kid-expert, to evaluate his sister’s progress.

As it turns out, gluten free flour is not an equal substitute for all-purpose. The cookie dough oozes over the sides of her pan and the smoke alarm goes off. I personally feel vindicated as it goes off at least every other night when I cook too. But she is not deterred, nor disappointed. We both blame our oven. As I haven’t started the cleaning hard places chapter, I can’t ask her to clean it yet.

It is a joy to let her use oven mitts, my large butcher knife, and handle raw meat. Dangers I had protected her from, but for what purpose? She carefully wielded each, rising to the expectation I had of her, albeit grossed out and a bit trepidatious.

There was much interest after Aidan’s night as to whether I am making them clean up after themselves. Yes and not all the way. When they spend hours in the kitchen (Aidan, 4, Ella, 3) I don’t have it in me to make them clean every single thing they’ve dirtied. But I am asking them to clean up as they go, to free up work space and keep the pile manageable. I’ve asked them to put items away, wipe counters, load the dishwasher as much as possible, and clean a few pots. That still leaves crumbs on the floor, flour on the mixer, extra annoying items that neither fit in the dishwasher or are difficult to wash. They are making an entire dinner and dessert from scratch, more than many parents do on a given night. They’ve climbed mountains in my book and I don’t feel the need right now to have them sweep the trail.

I’m as proud as she is, maybe more! This is going great, and fun. They both have plans for their second meal and Aidan’s involves the word “souffle.” I read this today and thought of him:

“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets in the future.” Graham Greene

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 31, 2012 4:11 am

    🙂 Love the last quote. Congratulations, Ella.

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