Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kitchen Lessons

"Mom?" Abby began one day.  "Can I help you make dinner?"

I looked down at my six year old little girl.  She barely could see over the counter, much less help me chop the veggies for the salad we would have that night.

"Sure... grab a stool & come on.'

Abby scrambled up on the barstool next to the kitchen island.  I handed her a cutting board and her knife.

Yes--a knife.  A real one.  A sharp one.

I've been teaching my girls to cook since they each turned five.  We started with simple things--helping to get ingredients out of the lower cabinets, adding the chocolate chips to the cookie batter, cutting soft foods like avocados with kid-safe knife.

But now we've moved on... the girls are learning to cut veggies and other foods with a real knife.  They know to keep their fingers curled under and they know a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one.

They're learning other things, though, too--

They're learning to be independent.  Soon enough the time will come when they'll own knives of their own.  They'll know how to dice and chop and julienne.  They'll know the satisfaction of feeding themselves and those they love.

They're learning to take risks.  Abby loves to put odd ingredients together to see how they taste (peanut butter and cheese anyone?).  Molly invented her own dessert--Ritz cracker smores.  By letting them experiment with noodles and sauces, I'm teaching them that sometimes we make mistakes, and that's okay.  They're also learning about the wonder of surprises, like pineapple popsicles.

They're learning to be confident. You have to believe you can flip that pancake and attack it with gusto.  Same thing with life; you have to face things head on and deal with whatever life throws at you.

The time I spend in the kitchen with my girls is time well spent. Cooking with them is not a chore; rather it is special time we have together to talk about our days or things that are on our minds.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Yesterday, my 10 year old daughter lost her 10th tooth.  She had a friend over, and the wiggly tooth was really bothering her.  The two girls sequestered themselves in my bathroom and worked at that tooth until it came out.  This is a pretty big deal, considering Molly has never before taken initiative in getting her loose teeth out.

She found one of the little plastic treasure boxes given to her by the school nurse and put her tooth out for the tooth fairy to find.

Only the tooth fairy forgot to visit the Rench Ranch last night.

This whole tooth fairy thing has me wondering.  Molly is going into fifth grade.  I have a feeling she knows the truth behind the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and Santa Claus, but I'm not really sure.  She's not come right out and asked or said anything about it, but today when she asked why the tooth fairy didn't come, she had a knowing look in her eye.  In a way, it will be a relief when I don't have to be all of those things for my kids, but at the same time it will be sad.  It will mean they have lost a bit of their innocence; that they are taking another step toward young adulthood.

Perhaps Molly is helping me keep the fairy tale alive for her little sister.  Perhaps she doesn't want me to know that she has figured all of this out.  I'm not sure; and I'm for sure not going to ask.

But I am going to make sure the tooth fairy comes tonight!