Even before I had kids, I knew I wanted them to shine in home management. Considering the fact that I initially said I wanted four boys, it means I do want boys who can equally take care of the house as much as girls are usually known to. Note that I wrote “initially” there. Two boys later, I am not very sure I am the one who said I wanted four boys but hey, that is a story for another day.
Much as I know in my heart that I wanted my kids to be great at their home chores, I never really set out a time for when that will start. I guess I had planned to wait until I thought they were old enough. Asempa, my 3-year old, however, chose to invite himself to the chores party. The thing with him is he doesn’t know how to sit at one place or stick to one activity for too long so he is always looking for the next exciting thing.
They say Covid has unearthed a baking talent in everyone to the extent that flour was even getting short on the market. I cannot verify this but at least I can confirm that it did unearth my baking talent. Thanks to Covid, I have made pancakes, banana cake, bofloat and meat pie this year. I have also made some other stuff with flour and other ingredients but I’m not sure what they were so I would rather not list them. What I have listed is probably very basic but not to me. I cook a lot but they have always been actual meals. Apart from pancakes, this is the first year I have made the above but I must say I have enjoyed it so it will definitely not be the last year I am doing it. Even with pancakes, I probably made some early on in marriage and forgot about it when motherhood made me forget about everything in our honeymoon days.
On one of the days I was making the pancakes, I was just about to fry it when Asempa walked into the kitchen. When he saw the mix, he immediately said he wanted to do it and went to grab a stool to stand on. Just like when he came wanting to blend stuff a few months ago, my immediate reaction was not to stop him. Isn’t he too young, you will ask? Well…maybe. But then, I may say he’s too young now and not allow him. In a few years time, I will think he’s of age but he may be unwilling then. What do I do? So well, I just decided let’s try this and see how it goes.
I poured the mix into the pan and told him we’ll count to 20 before we turn it. Excitedly, he began counting and told me to join in. We got to 20, turned it and it was great! When that batch got ready, he said he wanted to pour the mixture in this time. Er…😳 Yes, I hesitated but what’s there to lose? If my pancakes won’t be nicely shaped, who cares? I carefully helped him hold a part of the bowl as we poured the mix into the pan. We started to count again. He said 1, I said 2, he said 3, I said 4…he said 11, then hubby came around and I paused to say something to him. I don’t even remember what it was. Ha! When I was done with my chat, I knew the pancakes were ready to be turned. I started to turn it and Asempa shouts, 11! For that split second, I even forgot what the 11 meant. I was still turning them when he started getting upset.
“No, no! 11…”
“But Asempa, it’s okay.”
“Mummy, no! 11…!”
“Okay, okay, 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20”
“No no! 11…”
Anyway, by then, I was done turning them and it was time to start counting again. But I learnt an interesting lesson about how a toddler’s mind works. They are very good at following rules. I went to a grotto with the kids recently and told them we need to remove our slippers before entering. The next time we went there, Daddy was with us. He entered with his slippers and was carrying Ayemye who also had his sandals on. Asempa removed his own slippers, then followed Emmanuel inside to remove Emmanuel’s then tried to pull his brother down to get his sandals off too. It really shows how much kids imbibe what we say and do.
The next time we fried pancakes, it was one morning when Asempa woke up earlier than expected with far too much energy. I’d been trying to get some work done on my laptop but I simply couldn’t continue because he wouldn’t stop pestering me. Why don’t they pester Daddy the way they pester Mummy???🤦🏾 Tired of telling him to stop, I told him we should go and fry pancakes. He jumped at the idea. Mind you, I hadn’t planned frying pancakes on this day. As I put in each ingredient, I told him what it was. When I was about to pour in the milk, he asked to drink some. After I had measured it oh. Ah! Then when I started to mix it up, he said we should start frying. I told him it wasn’t time yet and then he said he will stir the mix. You can imagine what the first attempt at that looked like. I called hubby to come and carry him away. Hubby was obviously laughing at my frustration. When the mix was ready, he came to “help” me to count. Yes, I really don’t know how to. When that first batch was ready, he asked for his share of it and went to share it with Daddy. And that’s how I lost my kitchen assistant for that day. Hehe.
They say third time is the charm so I felt that maybe if I tried this a third time, it will be perfect. All I needed to do was to make the mix ready before he wakes up and then make sure I am not distracted during the frying. I got the mix ready as planned. When they woke up, I was on my laptop as usual and they came to worry me as usual. I announced: “Let’s go and fry pancakes!”
Asempa jumped at the idea and told his brother: “Go to your father!” I didn’t know my assistant wasn’t interested in having an assistant.
We were in the middle of our counting when Asempa said, “Theodore wants to play our room”. Ah, I thought I had planned that no distractions today? The next thing, “I’m going to open the door for Theodore to play our room.” To let you appreciate this better, we could neither see nor hear Theodore from the kitchen so this idea was either a figment of his imagination or was sent via telepathy. Choose whichever sounds more likely. And just like that, he left me. All alone. To fry my pancakes. So much for perfection on the third try.
As long as I am not abandoned right in the middle of my carefully planned mum and son bonding time, I love getting the boys involved in stuff around the house such as packing their toys, picking the pegs when I’m drying stuff and loading up the washing machine (Ayemye’s favourite). They are still young and don’t do it to standard but really, that shouldn’t matter all the time. At least, it helps us to bond, helps them to learn more about the things around them and even helps them practise their counting.
I’m not saying all mothers should bring their 3-year olds to the kitchen. Definitely not. It’s not an easy thing controlling a toddler with a mind of his own in such a space. But I will definitely recommend lowering our standards a bit some of the time to engage them. This way, we won’t completely abandon our tall list of to-dos but just have a few tasks that aren’t necessarily A+ when they are completed. It’s healthy for the family and sets a good foundation for giving them a sense of responsibility in the future.
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