Teach them while they are young

The other night when I made spaghetti for dinner and called my son down he walked into the kitchen and he asked the same question he asks when I call him down to eat, “what’d you make?”  I told him spahgetti and I just knew there was going to be some sort of nose scrunch coming my way.  “What!? Why did you make spahgetti? I don’t like spahgetti.”  This seems to be a routine he has to go through before he’ll eat.  “Yes you do you eat it every time I make it and always ask me to buy more when we are grocery shopping.”  Then comes the other arguments.  “But I didn’t want spahgetti tonight.  You never ask me what I want to eat anymore you just make it and don’t even ask.  That’s not fair.”  Ok mr. I think I need to lay it on thick.  So I explained to him why I don’t ask anymore “bud, I don’t ask you anymore because you always want the same thing every day, peanut butter and Jelly or pizza.  You need some variety in your diet so you stop getting constipated and sick.”  Once this conversation ended he ate the spahgetti and cheesy garlic bread like he does every time I make it and thanks me.  When he was done and put his bowl in the sink before he ran away I decided to make a deal with him.  “How about tomorrow night I let you decide what we make for dinner?”  I got a look of are you messing with me or are you really going to let me pick?  So I told him really he can choose what we have for dinner tomorrow night.  “Wahoo!” he was pretty excited about it as he trotted up the stairs to his room.

I’ve discovered if I let him help me make the food we are about to eat, he’s more apt to at least try it.  We’ve gotten to the point where as long as he tries it, usually he’s good.  Some nights it’s one of those it doesn’t matter you need to eat that whether you like it or not.  In those cases we need to make sure he has enough to drink so that he can wash down whatever it may be so he doesn’t have to taste the “gross” food.  This happened with a hot ham and cheese.  He’s weird, he doesn’t have your regular adolecents taste buds.  He won’t eat cheeseburgers but he’ll eat spaghetti and tacos.  He won’t eat anything that has come out of the garden, he’ll try it but that’s about the extent of it.  So I figure while he’s helping me make food he’s also learning along the way.  I don’t really remember my mom teaching me a bunch about cooking, that was more cooking classes in school.  I mean she taught me how to bake and showed me how to make a few things but most of my cooking skills now is in large part to Mrs. Paula Deen and the food network.  I cook WAY better than I bake too.  So, I figure he needs to know how to cook especially if he’s going to be mr. picky eater.  That way when he’s old enough if he doesn’t like something I make he can make his own food and he’ll make some woman a good wife some day =P just kidding.  Around 6ish I asked him what he wanted for dinner.  “What are my choices?”  Haha he’s been trained well, I usually give him choices because if I just let him pick it will be pb&j which I’m ok with but you can’t live off of just that.  “Macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, Pizza, and Tacos.” Is what I told him.  We need to get groceries or that list would’ve been a lot longer.  “Do the hot dogs have cheese in them?”  He doesn’t like the cheese dogs for some reason, like I said weird right?  “yes they do.”   I get a wrinkled nose followed by “why did you get so many cheese ones!  Pizza, I want pizza.”  Ok that’s cool cuz I have to make the crust so it’ll be healthier.  “Alright, let’s go and get started then.”  He looks at me with the funniest puzzled look  “you’re helping me.”  he didn’t want to at first but once I told him he was doing almost all of it, then he was more interested in helping.  Once the pizza was done and he tried it I get “I’m a good cook mom.” I just laughed and agreed with him.

There are times I notice I’m a little over bearing and not willing to let him or even our daughter help because at that moment I’m being lazy and don’t want to clean the mess they are going to create.  But if I just let him do it it’s not so bad.  So I’m learning to back off a little, suck it up on the cleaning aspect of things and let him help me more.  He’s at the age where he wants to, and instead of saying no I need to take the help because one day I’m sure soon he won’t want to be so helpful.  Plus like I said before it’s teaching him life skills that he will need some day.  He may not always have a woman around to cook for him, so he needs to know how to make foods beyond mac and cheese, ramen noodles, sandwiches, pizza and pizza rolls.  Granted that may be a bachelors dream I have no clue, but being as I’m extremely comfortable in the kitchen now I want to pass that on to my kids.  I want them to know how to grill, how to cook anything they may want, and bake.  They may not be rock stars at it all cause I know I’m not, I can still learn a lot on the grill and when it comes to cooking and baking.  But I know the basics and enough to get me to the point where I can experiment with things and I want them to be able to do the same.  We need to teach them how to be self sufficient and not have to depend on anyone.  At least those are my husband and my goals and so far I’d say we are doing pretty good.  Our son has gotten to the point where there are days he’ll just go into the kitchen get a chair and push it to the counter and make a pb&j on his own.  He lets me know what he’s doing then goes on his merry way.  I always tell him I can make it if he wants but usually he responds with “no that’s ok mom, you don’t put enough peanut butter and Jelly on.  If I do it myself I can put on as much as I want.”  This is true and it’s showing me that he’s making more steps toward being independent, which I’m learning to be ok with.  This is good, this is what we want for our kids.  As long as I keep telling myself this I might be ok, still struggle with the thought of him being so independent at his age but we have a long way to go before he’s grilling steaks and potatoes…….


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