Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cooking With Kids

It was a busy day. At least, I was making it in to a busy day. Instead of starting the day out with a modest bowl of cereal or an uneventful plate of eggs, I was sending my children on an adventure through the creation of a complicated egg muffin meal. And they were my helpers.

Don't as me why we decided to do this.

The only reason I can come up with is that I was reflecting on my children's love for fun and play and their ability to enjoy simple things like flour and muffin tins. So, I decided to indulge in their desires.

Plus, the night before Landon was helping me put dishes away and when he found the muffin tins, he asked me what that thing was. I figured it was high time for my child to learn the wondrous works that can be done with that funny looking, metal pan.

We managed to arrange chairs and stools at just the right heights around the kitchen island. Equally so, I soon realized there had to be easy access to the kitchen sink, considering fingers were not staying very sanitized during the process.

It is all too tempting to dip your index finger in the depths of the flour canister and then lick off the glorious substance. Then, with an already wet finger, it is quite simple and productive to swipe your finger across the surface of the corn meal and taste of it's corny meal. Oh, and have you ever licked a teaspoon after it was playing in baking soda? Try it some time.

After a long ten minutes of "working in harmony" together in the kitchen, I sent the kids to the dining room while I prepped the eggs and bacon. I looked over just in time to see Janae sitting contentedly ON the table while putting great effort into swinging the chandelier. Landon was looking on as he stood on a near by chair and enjoyed adding his own hearty shoves at the dangling light fixture.

I set the kids all back on their chairs and soon they were busy fixing the candles and candleabras. They seemed to be following the rule of thumb: "an idle mind is the devil's workshop" so I got them busy doing something profitable and had them "help" me get the cheese ready. Soon, the entire table, floor and both children were nicely seasoned with grated cheese. But, I didn't mind; the dining room now matched the kitchen... considering the one was dusted evenly with flour while the other was sprinkled with cheese.

At long last, the dough was ready, the tins were ready, the eggs and bacon were ready and the scrumptious cheese was ready. Do you know how many "that's your last bite of cheese" a child can have before it actually is their last bite? Believe me, I was working on consistency that day with my kids but so were my kids working on it with me.

Both Landon and Janae helped me squash the dough down into the tins and of course, the remaining dough that stuck to previously cleaned fingers, was being quickly licked off by anxious and starving little tongues. Add that to the cheese and they had a nice little hor'devours before breakfast.

Finally, the dough was topped with egg and bacon and then smothered with cheese. I then quickly dashed the tray of egg muffins to the stove, before another finger poked into the attractive blend of food. The house quickly filled with a warm, hearty breakfast smell.

Meanwhile, I cleaned up the kitchen and dining room. Or, at least tried to. Landon and Janae had their own set of plans, unbeknown to me. Ironically, their plans seemed to interfere with mine, and mine with there's.

I looked over at Janae just in time to see a great de-robing going on right in the kitchen.

Then, I happened to glance at Landon and noticed he had the whole bottom tray to the dishwasher out in the living room. He explained to me that it was his train.

As I wiped off counters and swept up stray ingredients, the kids continued to be busy about their day. Janae suddenly disappeared and I found her busily reading "Through Gates of Splendor" as she sat on the potty chair. When we asked her if she was ready for breakfast, she gave a adamant, "No" and went back to reading her book.

The muffins were finally edible and we sat down to a nicely laid out breakfast. By now, the breakfast had turned to lunch: it was 12:00pm sharp. Instead of mourning over a wasted morning that resulted in a late breakfast, I rejoiced that for once we were eating lunch exactly at noon. There's nothing like being on time when you're normally late.

Our meal began with Landon making himself comfortable in his chair and in the process of doing so, seriously upset his glass of water.

But, that wasn't as bad as what I ended the meal with... a spilled cup of cooled coffee and cream all over Landon's lap and chair and place setting and floor and chair pad. He seemed surprised and impressed that I of all people would create such a big mess at the table and he kept commenting on the spilled coffee for the rest of the day, even informing his father of it that night during supper.

After putting a half a day's work into one meal, we enjoyed the fact that finally the task of working and eating was over. Though the effort was greater than expected, the memories made were unforgettable. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I did too.

Although, I think the part that demanded the most effort was the fact that I was working with more than just one little person. It was a good reminder for me to realize the importance of taking one on one time with each child individually. It's easier on the mother and on the child. It also helps to establish better kitchen habits for the child because the overseer is focused on just them and not on other people too. But since our kids are so close in age, it's hard to separate them for the same task unless one is sleeping or away.

When Toby asked how the day went for me, I concluded the details by saying that the next time we make a complicated breakfast together, the kids will be respectively 15 and 16 years old. Until then, we'll have to enjoy modest bowls of cereal and unexciting plates of eggs. At least with this plan, we'll be able to eat breakfast everyday and not have it wait until lunchtime.

7 comments:

Happymama said...

"He seemed surprised and impressed that I of all people would create such a big mess at the table and he kept commenting on the spilled coffee for the rest of the day, even informing his father of it that night during supper."

Oh Courtney! What have you done? You let the cat out of the bag that mother's are human too!!! LOL

You could write a book on your kids, you know that, don't you? I always read their stories with a smile on my face.

~Kristi

Coeur d'Court said...

Yes Kristi... I felt utterly shamed! Now my son knows the truth about me!! :)

Glad you enjoy reading here.

Anonymous said...

The incident with the chandaleir reminded me of another one. My frien is the grandmother of three boys who are close in age and capable of getting into a lot of mischief.
When these three were small - the youngest about three years old - the eldest suggested (maybe dared) the youngest to reaach from the top bunk, grab the ceiling fan and try to fly around on the fan. Needless to say the fan didn't support his weight. Laughable now but probably quite scary and frustrating to the mother.

Hooray! for your cooking class. Better to have the mess in the kitchen and diningroom than great desasters in some other part of the house while you are making breakfast and keeping a tidy kitchen.

what difference does it make if the fingers get licked and back into the same or other ingredients? Helps build up the immunity of the others in the family.

God bless, A. Jean 'n Wpg.

Anonymous said...

The incident with the chandaleir reminded me of another one. My frien is the grandmother of three boys who are close in age and capable of getting into a lot of mischief.
When these three were small - the youngest about three years old - the eldest suggested (maybe dared) the youngest to reaach from the top bunk, grab the ceiling fan and try to fly around on the fan. Needless to say the fan didn't support his weight. Laughable now but probably quite scary and frustrating to the mother.

Hooray! for your cooking class. Better to have the mess in the kitchen and diningroom than great desasters in some other part of the house while you are making breakfast and keeping a tidy kitchen.

what difference does it make if the fingers get licked and back into the same or other ingredients? Helps build up the immunity of the others in the family.

God bless, A. Jean 'n Wpg.

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

Your story reminded me of the time that we tried to make cookies with three young girls -- ages 5, 3, and 1. It was quite an experience.

Lindsay said...

Now you must, simply MUST share that recipe! Sounds and looks heavenly :)

Carolyn said...

Just wanted you to know I enjoy your blog Courtney! I always get a laugh!

~Carolyn S.