Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Mission, Because I've Already Accepted It

Today, we baked a pie. And I say "we" because I actually offered to let Jonah help. I usually have a "don't offer, don't refuse" policy about 3 year old help. But I'm making a concerted effort to offer more often (which also means that sometimes? I get to say "no").

The pie turned out kinda yuck because I was too lazy to prebake the crust. I never prebake crusts and they always turn out fine. Mom, stop reading now and skip ahead a few paragraphs. I mean it.

You see, this pie recipe was actually a tart recipe and I figured that since I was baking it in a pie plate, I could treat it like a pie. So I did. And the crust was mushy. Mom! I told you not to read this. I am a lazy cook/baker. (My gourmand mother should be ashamed of me, and probably is because she's reading this even though I warned her.)

My poor, longsuffering husband knows this about me, but he still lives with me. But everytime something doesn't turn out right, he asks me if I followed the recipe, and I say "What recipe?".

Actually, the main thing I was interested in about this pie/tart recipe was the struesel topping on the pear filling. It was fantastic. Why can't we just eat struesel? Why does it have to be on something? Anyway, that's what you see Jonah shaking beaucoup cinnamon into in the photo above. It made his day. And that's what this post is actually supposed to be about, but it got hijacked by my pie/tart thing.

Er... where was I going with this? Oh yes, work ethic training. (Bet you didn't know that's where I was going, did you?)

I have a hard time with the intensity of the 3 year old who lives in my house. He plays all your favorite hits and turns them into golden oldies-- "I wanna help!" and "Can I see?" and "Why?" and "Let ME do it!". Lather, rinse, repeatrepeatrepeat

I know this is a normal and healthy part of development. I know he's gonna grow out of it and I will (presumably) miss it when he does. I also know that it would be horrible of me to squash it. He's learning everything from me and his daddy. I want him to be a cheerful, hard worker. Now is the time.

I get so caught up in all the work that I have to do that I loose sight of my first job- training this little person to be a capable adult. Shooing him away so I can do my work is not going to accomplish this training. But it's sooo tempting because it's so much easier to just do it myself.

But guess! what! I! learned!

When we work together, and my focus is on his learning instead of my accomplishment, we're worlds more cheerful. He whines less, I yell less. Win, win. Less frustration all around. I don't get quite as much done, but who cares? It's not like I'm always that productive, anyway.

I always give him little jobs to do, and he's usually great about doing them. But some of my best memories with my parents are of when we worked together, and that is certainly how my sibs and I developed our work ethic. So more and more, I've been trying to take a deap breath, let go of my ideals, and ask him to come help me. And it's fun. I gave him his own little "helper knife" and cutting board to "chop" nuts. He watched me intently trying to do it just like I was. He got his own rolling pin and we tool turns rolling the crust. And when I get board to tears waiting for him (like yesterday, turning the handle of the food mill for pear sauce), we start singing.

Oh, I still suffer frustration from the extra messes and tedium of some jobs, but I'm trying to learn to be patient. Maybe I'm training myself more than I'm training him.

Now, I'll just have to remember to train a little more prescision into him when following recipes...


  1. Loved this.

    I'm lazy too donchaknow. I just know how to fake it better. :-D

  2. Here's what I was going to comment last night before my internet connection took a crap for the millionth time (it is poached and free- guess I shouldn't complain)

    One- Your blog has lots more entertainment value than mine. Can you just start writing my text posts for me and I'll take the credit? You're a waaaay better and more entertaining writer than me

    And two- You sound like a parent. Sometimes I start to think that Jonah is just like your incredibly cute little 3 year old homie that you hang out with all the time. Then I read stuff like this and I think "Oh snap- Katie's a mom! What?"
    I just forget we're adults now.