Monday, January 23, 2012

Luke's First Dinner Chef Experience -- A Success!

“Don’t blink,” folks say. These years pass quickly.

Indeed, they do!

In 5 ½ years, Luke has moved from this:

to this:

Now, going from slurping up first “solids” to popping a bite of stir fry with a side of eggs into one’s mouth may not seem that momentous, but, for us, it is noteworthy.


Well, for one, guess who made dinner last night?

You got it! After an afternoon of sledding, it seems that Luke had worked up not only an appetite, but also a cooperative, independent spirit.

All the turn-taking had had done throughout the afternoon with his siblings on our single unbroken sled seemed to have put Luke in an accommodating frame of mind. Much to my pleasure, upon getting home, he did not immediately shed his sledding gear and beg for food. Instead, he seemed regulated by the heavy work of whizzing down a big hill and pulling a sled back up it countless times throughout the afternoon and was willing to wait until dinner before eating. Better still, when he saw me take carrots and asparagus out of the fridge in order to prepare part of dinner, he did not balk.

In the past, carrots alone have been known to trigger long tantrums with Luke, and adding asparagus into our mealtime mix is something that Luke has only recently accepted with extreme reluctance. So, the fact that Luke did not complain about what was “on the menu” for dinner was surprising. More unexpected was Luke’s request to make our family’s dinner on his own.

Now, Luke has helped me to cook and bake many a times before and has even gotten a breakfast or snack together for us, but, until last night, he had never been the main dinner chef.  Thus, when he asked me if he could make our meal "without your help, Mommy", I was pleasantly taken aback. I guessed that our afternoon of letting Luke loose to slide down a snowy hill as many times as he requested to do so without anyone else on his sled had built his confidence and that he wanted to prove his capabilities still further by preparing dinner.

I quickly reflected that it was not long ago that our boy was afraid of the sensation of sledding down hills and still needed the comfort of someone aboard the sled with him more often than not.  Yet, he had spent the greater portion of the afternoon's sledding runs going solo-by-request with us simply looking on.   Maybe it was time to let him do the same in the kitchen.

So it was that Luke sliced carrots

and scissored asparagus.

Then, stirred them with steak bits in a pan,

before mixing in leftover rice and cooking it all over low heat.

He, then, cracked eggs (with just a little requested help from sous chef Mom) and cooked them up (again asking Mom to help for a moment, but only "to watch the pan while I go potty.")

Finally, Luke set the table and proudly presented a simple stir-fry and eggs to our family.

Before we all dug in, while the children offered thanks for our day and meal aloud, I silently offered even greater thanks for the way the meal had been prepared, with concentration, determination and independence by our not-so-little-anymore boy.

I also gave thanks for the second reason the occasion seemed so momentous, which I will share more about in my next post.


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