Archive for the ‘Parenting’ category

decide for yourself

August 19th, 2009

As any child-development expert will tell you, one of the best ways to help kids learn to be independent is to give them lots of opportunities to make their own choices. Baking with kids is perfect for this. Just ask lots of questions and offer lots of chances to participate: What kind of muffins should we make? Which bowl should we use? Do you want to take some muffins to our neighbors?

Once Carter and I settled on making sour cream–maple muffins the other night, for instance, I found myself aware of all the questions I ask him along the way. “Do you want to measure the flour? Do you want to crack the eggs?” And so he scooped and leveled the dry ingredients and cracked the egg for the wet ones. When we had the dry ingredients all ready to go in one bowl and the wet in another, I asked Carter whether we should add the dry ingredients to the wet, or the wet to the dry. He carefully contemplated before going with wet to dry.

Truth be told, often enough when I ask Carter if he wants to do something when we bake, his answer is, “No thanks, Mommy, I’ll watch.” But not always and just as often he changes his mind and joins in. But as I’ve mentioned before, more and more, he’s brushing me aside to do things himself. Soon enough, I’ll just sit back and watch.

Let’s pretend

July 13th, 2009

Tinker toy cookies and cakeCarter turned down the opportunity to make banana bread or bake the rest of the sugar-cookie dough in favor “baking” a Tinker Toy cake and cookies with me. He held up a piece of paper and told me that it was the recipe, which had “a half cup of sugar and some flour and vanilla” in it.

The results are why I didn’t buy him the Dave and Melissa’s “decorate a cake” toy. It just seems far better to me to have Carter seek out and turn over a plastic container that usually holds his balls, drape his blanket over it with the white side up for icing, and decorate it with Tinker Toy joints, with which he wanted to spell out” Happy Mothers’ Day, From Carter.” (This involved a few too many letters to approximate.) We settled for a big “M”—and purple sprinkles, Carter’s second favorite color.

The tray next to the cake holds “cookies” for Daddy. Wouldn’t want him to feel left out. In fact, in the end, Daddy got to blow out candles on the cake. cake for daddy

Feed me, I’m yours

May 29th, 2009

I confess: my child eats a Trader Joe’s “A Strawberry Walked into a Bar” strawberry breakfast bar, well, just about every morning. Plus one or two FruitaBu organic smoshed fruit bars, which we subscribe to in bulk from Amazon. We put them out the night before along with his vitamins to help streamline the morning routine. I contemplated looking for a recipe and baking breakfast bars, but I couldn’t even buy the ingredients for what one box of six bars costs: $1.69.

I fed Carter this breakfast in the car this morning. Jeff was annoyed with us because Carter had time to eat at home, didn’t, and had already brushed his teeth. Truth is: I’ll even feed Carter whenever he says he’s hungry, even after he’s in bed—a ploy to stay up later in Jeff’s estimation. But my sense of being a good mother is intrinsically tied to feeding my child. Plus, on the practical side, I know how crabby I get when I get hungry (Jeff’s travel rule: my wake-up call is room service delivering breakfast.), and I don’t want to risk it with my son. What mother would?

Family dinner: Carter and I both like Jeff’s marinated, grilled turkey burgers. And the butter and honey I put on the fresh carrots made them “more palatable” to Jeff. I’m too full for the Marie Callendar’s Kahlua cream cheese pie the boys surprised me with.

Carter dug into the cherry one.