Working in the kitchen with Bear used to be difficult.'
We didn't have the equipment Bear needed and the kitchen wasn't very Bear friendly.
Things have changed recently. I have spent some time rearranging things to suit him better. Tom and I have also made a big effort to include him in our work in the kitchen. At 2 years old there a lots of things he can do very effectively. He can be patient and is good at following directions. He is also starting to work toward specific goals. For example now he feeds the cats; he used to scoop biscuits.
This is Bear's area in the pantry. He uses the step stool to reach the benches and is able to get it out and move it around himself. The lowest shelf in the pantry is for his things - some toddler friendly kitchen tools and his cleaning supplies. The spray bottle has a small amount of water in it and although it is adult size he is able to use it comfortably. Spraying and wiping the benches is one of his favourite activities in the kitchen.
We still have a baby gate in place so Bear only has access to the kitchen in the company of Tom or myself.
There is very little that we do in the kitchen now that Bear is not welcome to join. It has been a real joy for us all. Tom and I appreciate Bear's enthusiasm when doing chores that are mundane for us. We don't mind if they take twice as long because it's a pleasure working with Bear; thoroughly engaged, brimming with pride, and becoming more effective every day
Making purees for Fox is an almost daily ritual that Bear volunteers for. He is able to chop, assemble the blender, load the blender, press the button (that's the best part!), and fill the freezer trays. (I've been using this baby food recipe book - it makes moosh much more inspiring)
Since I showed Bear how to make his own toast I am absolutely not allowed to make it for him! I didn't think he'd have the patience to wait for the toast to pop - but he can wait very well. I didn't think he'd have the restraint to leave the setting on "1" - but he does. I thought he'd touch the hot parts - but he doesn't. Having this independence is obviously very special for him. He is so motivated by it that he is prepared to follow such precise instructions and suppress those temptations that usually win him over. I thought my expertly spread toast tasted better - it definitely doesn't!
The juice he squeezes for himself tastes pretty good as well!
There are things he gets "stuck" on. Like the tray of cutlery. He's never ready to close the drawer after putting away the clean cutlery. He wants to sit with the tray and work for longer. He makes patterns. Or sets the table. Or pretends to cut and eat food. Spraying and wiping the bench is another one that holds onto him. I leave him to it.
Fox is always close by to chat and sing with us as we're working. I have a basket of kitchen items that I can pass to him: a spatula, a wooden spoon, a spice tin, a bamboo napkin ring... So Fox has started working in the kitchen too.
I have found cooking with Bear very difficult. This has been for a number of reasons:
I continue to persevere because I am convinced that this is something that Bear and I can both benefit from. I have found lots of inspiration from itty bitty love and how we montessori.
Things I have found have helped:
The best things about cooking with Bear:
In the photos:
I was making herb dumplings for dinner at the kitchen counter. I set two mixing bowls and a spoon on Bear's table - one bowl had flour in it. He came and sat down right away to get cooking. He started by scooping the flour from one bowl to the other and back again. When he started to tire of scooping I gave him a herb shaker - that was a big hit! At first it was half full of some herbs. When they were all used up he brought me the shaker to ask for some more. I refilled it over and over with lentils and split peas.
My name is Vicky I am wife to Ranger and mum to two boys - Bear (2) and Fox (8 months). Somehow I stumbled across Montessori and now my goal is to raise and educate my children with a Montessori philosophy in country NSW Australia.