Monday, December 10, 2007

Cooking with two. Easy kids aprons.

Ezra now wants to help in the kitchen too. I've been letting his big brother help while I cook, sitting on the counter, and doing everything he was able to, since about Ezra's age. The little one is no longer riding on my back during cooking times. He wants to be right in on the action!

It's a principle I read about somewhere, of "downward delegation", of assigning tasks to youngest child in the family who can do them. It makes sense. This way, Ezra will get to do things as he is ready to, rather than everything remaining "Gibbie's job" just cause he did it first. It also keeps us challenging the kids, each of them, with new tasks as they grow.

Unfortunately, downward delegation, in this instance, doesn't make sense in terms of my counter space. Look at the above photo. Where am I going to actually knead the bread here? I suppose if I were really delegating down, Gibbie would be moving on to other things and I wouldn't be amassing children on the counter, but he is just now getting to a point where he can do a lot of the cooking stuff. We have a rhythm. It works for us. Ever wants to be on the counter, but if he's there I have to go back to policing the knife block, and watching half the ingredients fall on the floor when he takes his turn stirring. True, that's just how Gibbie learned to do all he can do now, but he learned it when I only had him to watch. Lots more time. Maybe more patience. No baby pulling on my leg, wanting to come up and help too.

We'll see where this goes.

Oh, by the by--they're both sporting my new kid's aprons. I only wear full aprons, not these little waist-down-only skirts. But the half-aprons are the kind one can find, vintage, handmade, and darling in abundance at thrift stores! (Or make super-easily) It happened on this day that the kid's real kid-sized aprons were all in the laundry, so I pulled out these little decorative ones and did this:
-lay the apron across the child's chest, with the sash ties going over his shoulders
-cross the ties in back and bring around to the front, under his arms
-tie in front, on top of the apron.

Voila! A full-coverage apron sized just right for the baby, toddler, or pre-schooler!


amanda said...

I love the concept of "downward delegation". I think I could use this even with an only child. And the kids apron is a great idea. Most baby-wearing moms become really clever at folding and tying fabric, I've noticed!

paul said...

Yeah, it is like babywearing! I found myself at the mall the other day, tying things up in a bundle to wear, instead of putting them in a bag. Must have looked strange, but I value my free hands!