As planned, I picked my son up from school tonight and asked if he still wanted to help cook. He did. After our previous couple of nights, I was excited to have a happy boy eager to join in the kitchen fun.
“Mommy!” my son hollered from upstairs. “What’s that sound?”
“That’s the chili! It’s done. Wash up!” I yelled back, happily.
Then, a meltdown started. Slowly at first: “But Mommy, I was going to help!”
A lot of our vacations with our son have been to visit family. Sometimes we add on adventures and stay in hotels. We’ve also rented a condo. You’d think that vacation time would be about not cooking, but somehow, when you’re on vacation, it feels different. It’s less rushed. It’s more enjoyable to sit and eat what you’ve prepared. It’s about gathering with family. It’s time together preparing the meal and time together savoring it. It feeds the body and the soul.
At this point, he was excited to help with the rest. He added spices to the cauliflower and helped to put them on a baking sheet. He also helped season the steaks. And he was eager to join me outside at the grill.
It was a wonderful night with him, but it was probably just a fluke, I thought. But then, his interest continued this weekend.
Cooking with kids is important. But making it fun for everyone is too. A few things to consider to help ensure you're prepared to be patient and enjoy the experience.
Last night was one of those nights. You know the kind. The kind of night that makes you question yourself as a parent. The kind that makes you think you've done everything wrong. The kind where afterward you wonder how you got here and if you need to make some sort of drastic change.
I'm going to level with you: Lately, I just haven't had the energy for cooking. My workdays have been long. My son was sick a couple of days. I've had several evenings where it's just my son and me — and it's really hard to cook for two. So, yeah, I've taken a bit of a break from the kitchen just to catch my breath.