In my short amount of years as a mom, I’ve learned a few things. First, you don’t ever offer a toddler options…he’ll always choose poorly. Second, snacks after 4 in the afternoon spell imminent doom for those of us hoping to enjoy a peaceful family dinner, and third…you learn a lot about your child when cooking together in the kitchen.
From the moment Davey was old enough to help in the kitchen, I had him with me. I was a new and inexperienced cook at that point, eager to start a new adventure with my child. I voraciously poured through websites, Pinterest, and our cookbooks looking for easy, yet fun and healthy things I could cook with my little one. I wanted to create memories, to be the fun mom, to have something to do as a stay at home mom. I wanted to document our cooking fiascos with my new camera and my insatiable desire to write. The kitchen was my stage, my prop, the backdrop to my coolness as a stay at home mom. What I didn’t know was how much I would learn from cooking with my son.
Before he could even speak, he was lining muffin pans, tossing cut up apples into batter, dipping his finger into icing and licking the spoon and bowl. When I would suggest we make something, he would jump, grab his monster apron, a stool, and an eagerness greater than anything I’d ever seen. One would think when starting in the kitchen with your littles, you would pick something easy, a Betty Crocker brownie, Pillsbury premade, precut cookies, or a Duncan Hines cupcake mix. Me? Well, I don’t like to start small, my goals are high and lofty, so we started with a made from scratch apple muffin recipe. It took us nearly two hours, but we made some of the best apple muffins I’ve ever tasted and Davey was hooked.
Back then, he didn’t talk much. These days; however, are much more different These days, my son loves to talk about what he’s measuring, how he’s going to bake it, cook it, or grill it, how to decorate it, and who gets what. This past week, I learned a lot more than I bargained for, especially about Davey’s fellow classmates and his teachers.
In celebration of Halloween, I decided we would make Rice Krispie treats for his class. I decided to make them in the shapes of pumpkins and bats and decorate them with chocolate and candy eyes. I even bought cake decorating pens to help with the faces. As usual, Davey jumped right in, his brother even helping out, but the true fun for me didn’t really start until Henry was napping and Davey and I were left alone to decorate the treats.
For the better part of an hour, I spent the afternoon with my oldest son listening to him as he decorated the Rice Krispie treats. He told me about the two Annas in his class, one of whom I knew from last year. He picked out the pumpkin each one could have and told me the reasons behind giving them their pumpkins. He told me stories of the boys in his class, how one always makes him laugh, how another one is really quiet. He picked out bats for his two teachers and told little anecdotes about the things that he likes best about them. I learned who he likes to sit alongside, who he plays with the most, who makes him sad and why, and what his favorite part about each person is in his class. This was truly the first time when I wanted to put down the camera, the laptop and phone. This was the first time in our cooking when I just wanted to totally immerse myself in the moment, the being, with my son, and savor every little morsel he wanted to share with me.
This was more than just a memory to be created. This was more than just an adventure, or an excuse to write. This was my opportunity to really get to know my son. This was an opportunity I hope to recreate again for years to come as his love for the kitchen grows, but it was also an opportunity for a mother and son bonding experience that may one day go away as he gets older. Needless to say, if you’ve had some sort of influence in Davey’s life, be it good or bad, then I’m likely to hear about it in the kitchen, while we cook, and dissect the events of the days.
Kitchen talk…it truly is a magical time.
***as you can see, there are no pictures from the actual cutting or decorating. I was too wrapped up in the stories I was being told.***