We've fallen into a regular rhythm in the kitchen, Ezra and I. With more and more regularity, he's been joining me in the evening dinner preparation. This isn't new - his love of the kitchen. Since he was very little, he's loved helping us cook. More often than any of my other babes, he was standing alongside me in the Learning Tower. And then, before he could write, he was drawing 'recipes' he wanted to make. He's got a kids cookbook section of his very own on the book shelf. He's been making 'concoctions' in the kitchen for as long as he could say the word. And does anyone remember The Mustard Party we held for his fourth birthday?
No, his love for being in the kitchen isn't new. But slowly, over time and through the years, something has shifted. Not for him, but perhaps for us as parents. I assure you I loved (or we wouldn't have embraced them as we did) every single one of those messy, ingredient-sucking, a little tricky to digest "concoctions" he'd whip up in the kitchen. And his "help" in the kitchen was always welcome, even if it meant a little bit longer to make the meal.
But now it's different. Now he's capable in the kitchen. Sure he's still a little bit messy while in the throws of creating something with food, but let's be honest - so is his mother (it's true). More than that, he's developing a real and true understanding of food and what to do with it. And the order of things, and the timing of it all. As such, it's a true pleasure to work alongside him, asking the right questions as he does, and challenging my own cooking comfort zone as he's bound to do (let's try parsnips in the mashed potatoes tonight, he says, and so we do). We alternate choosing the music and regardless of what's playing, he insists upon dancing breaks. I oblige. And when we're in the groove - of rinsing and chopping and sauteeing - alongside each other, the conversations are most fabulous. Of books and girls and dreams and oh, it's the good stuff of parenting, I tell you. Those moments are so precious and grateful for them, I am. I learn so much.
Parsnips, by the way, are a most fabulous addition to mashed potatoes.
Happily fed people will happily wash the dishes and clean up when all is said and done.
And frequent dancing is a most essential ingredient.