March 24, 2012

My Daughter, The Chef

Parenting Tip: Teach your kids to help out.

Harper loves to "help" in the kitchen.  She always has.

More recently, the quotes have been coming off of the word "help."

A year ago, when she had just learned how to walk, run, climb and destroy things a little higher off of the ground, I dreaded hearing "Hep, daddy!!" when it was accompanied by the sound of a chair being dragged into the kitchen.  My lovely child would bring a chair in, place it exactly where I needed to stand to make breakfast/lunch/dinner and proceed to manhandle whatever she could reach.  Eggs were thrown on the floor, razor-sharp knives were wielded with excited abandon and cups, bottles and jars were knocked over, spilled, opened, closed or whatever action was the least convenient for me.

I want to cultivate certain interests in my children.  One of the main ones is a love of cooking, and cooking with someone.  Unless we are in a rush, Sara and I cook and bake together.  It's a family activity and I want the girls to know that and enjoy it as well.

Also, volunteering to help someone is a pretty great attribute.

As I have stated before, I am not a fan of food-based messes as they often lead to sticky messes.  This aversion, coupled with my desire to have Harper love working in the kitchen, and helping in general, causes a bit of internal conflict.  On Saturday or Sunday mornings, I almost always make eggs for breakfast.  A few weeks ago, I bit the bullet and taught Harper how to carefully crack eggs into a bowl.  It took less time than I would have thought and only a few broken eggs.  I cringed, but calmly had her help me clean up the eggs and wash our hands afterwards.

She has become, not super-helpful, but not counter-productive to have in the kitchen and this delights me.  I no longer cringe at hearing "I hep you, daddy!"  Even if I am not giving her a useful task, like "make the rue, please." or "that pan needs to be soaked before you scour it, baby." or "I need this onion diced. Do you think you can do that for daddy?" she will happily do almost any task I set before her.

Usually it's asking her to mix something that doesn't need to be mixed.

This morning, I made eggs and pancakes.  Harper helped me mix the pancake batter and did a wonderful job listening when I told her to mix slowly and carefully.  When she was done, she even carefully left the whisk in the bowl so it wouldn't spill.

I think she will be an excellent helper as she gets older.

That is, of course, when she's not climbing into the fridge...
I'm waiting for her to tell me it's her igloo.
Seriously, how many parents have to (get to) use the phrase "Stop climbing into the fridge!"

Unrelated, but cute, photos:



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