December 9, 2013

Kids Cook Monday : the Convenience Factor

I wasn't planning to do a Kids Cook Monday today because it's been a crazy weekend with Hannah Jane still touch and go.  Last night her stomach was pushing her to the point of tears again and we made the boys sleep in their clothes in case we needed to make a mad dash back to the hospital.  We're all exhausted and strung out on adrenaline spikes and there was no way I was going to even think about KCM this week.

But this morning, as I sat in the living room in the middle of a pile of laundry before the sun was up, Hunter woke up early.  He started to ask what was for breakfast and then stopped himself mid-sentence.  We've got a menu on the fridge, so he knows where to find the answer to that question now.  The only problem is that we haven't used the menu at all since Hannah Jane was in the hospital on Friday.  We've eaten a whole big bunch of pasta.  It's fast and easy and everyone will eat it.  Forget the menu.  When life gives you lemons, stick with pasta.  

Anyway, Hunter went and found muffins on the menu and he seemed to know without asking that there was no way I had managed muffins this weekend, so he offered to make breakfast himself.  Muffins by Hunter.  What a blessing.

So there's no recipe to share this week.  These muffins were assemble by a seven year old reading the instructions on the back of a Marie Calender's packet of mix.  But you know what?  If we hadn't started down the Kids Cook Monday path ages ago, I'm not so sure I'd have a seven year old son who feels competent enough in the kitchen to not only offer to make muffins, but to actually get all the stuff together, preheat the oven, spray the liners, and do his thing all while I fold laundry, half awake and nursing a super-sized mug of coffee.  What a blessing it is to have a kid that cooks.

Along that line of thought, we host an interfaith study on the theme of science and religion every Sunday morning, and then group often runs long into lunch time.  Last week the kids wandered in, asking when we were going to get around to making lunch, and I whispered, "Go check out the menu, see what's for lunch today, and you can go ahead and make it if you're quiet."  

I didn't realize that one of our guests was listening in and she said, "Um, wow.  I was never that organized when my kids were young.  And even if I had been, would they have even known how to make what was on the menu?  I am so impressed.  You've really got it together."  

Truth is, most days I don't feel much like I've got it together.  But having kids who can cook, or at least assemble simple meals, is shaping up to be a real life saver.  They can do for themselves when meetings run long.  They can jump in and serve the family when parental energy is running low.  I've really been given ample opportunity these last couple of weeks to appreciate what a gift it is to have kids who know their way around a kitchen, who can understand recipes and cooking instructions, who can find everything they need in the kitchen.  And these things don't just magically happen in times of crisis.  They are the result of having involved the kids in the cooking and cleaning in the kitchen over time such that when I can't be there, they know exactly what I would do.  

So here's to Kids Cook Monday, to kids who can pull their weight in times of need, and to training before crisis!  What a wonderful thing!

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