Love Story

Friday, January 14, 2011

You don't like it? You make it!

These past two weeks have been pretty rough for Nathan (our 4 year old). He has been full of attitude, defiant and complaining about everything. We think he is just really needing some one on one time. He is the most dependent of the 3 and this works against him as far as getting mommy and daddy's attention. This weekend Jeremy is planning an outing for just the two of them so he can get some of that attention he seems to be craving. Another thing we are doing is letting him get more involved in helping out. Not just "Grab Isaiah's binky, please" or "Can you go shut that door or turn off that light" but things that give him responsibility as well as time with one or both of us.

One of his big complaints this week has been dinner. He has not been pleased with what I have been serving and has made no effort to hide that. In this house we do not cater at mealtime, I take into consideration what everyone likes and dislikes but we have one meal and if you don't like it, you don't eat. I have followed through with this all week but have decided in an effort to give him some sense of control (as well as a taste of what I go through to put dinner on the table) I am going to let him start being in charge of one meal every so often. So I sat him down while I was doing the meal planning and told him what day he was in charge of. His responsibilities included planning a dinner menu, helping do the shopping for it and then helping me prepare it.

His dinner night is going to be Friday. What are we having you ask? Spaghetti and Meatballs with broccoli on the side. I thought that was a reasonable choice. And for dessert: his major requirement was that it had whipped cream and he finally settled on putting that on top of brownies.

On the menu!

So Friday came and Nathan was actually super excited about getting to help at the grocery store. I let him pick out the head of broccoli, which kind of pasta sauce, the brownie mix, etc. He had so much fun that he helped me with my entire list and did a great job at it. I think I found a new shopping buddy!

As soon as we got home and got the groceries put away we decided to get the brownies going. So he donned his new chef ware that he got as a Christmas present and jumped right into baking.
Doesn't he look so excited?

Who needs a Kitchen Aid when you have a 4 year old?
As soon as that came out of the oven it was time to start making the meatballs. This is where things took an interesting turn. First off, he didn't realize what I put in my meatballs. "Squash...I don't like squash!" he whined as I explained that he loves my meatballs and that is what has always been in them. Then when I told him we mix up the ingredients by putting our hands in he wasn't all too thrilled either. Ummm, this is a 4 year old boy we are talking about, right? I thought he would be thrilled to play with his food but not so much. So I talked him into putting his hands into it and that is when all heck broke loose. He was thoroughly disgusted and was begging to wash his hands. I told him I wanted him to make one meatball to see how it was done and I pretty much had to force him to do it. I think the pictures say it all:

Mean old mommy made me make a meatball (try saying that 3 times fast!)
As this was going on he realized that one of his favorite shows was on tv and he wanted to quit all together to watch tv. This is where the lesson came in. I told him that being responsible for making dinner isn't always fun. That besides the planning and shopping, you also have to stop what you are doing and sometimes miss out on the fun stuff to get it done. This is why it hurts mommy's feelings when you complain about what I make. While I wanted this entire experience to be a fun bonding moment between us I am glad this life lesson was incorporated into it as well. This was the backbone to the whole idea and I am glad it came about naturally so that he could truly get the point. After some time in his room following a full on meltdown (and a mini mommy meltdown), we got back to cooking and everything turned out great. His favorite part was serving everyone and getting to choose how many meatballs went on his plate. I told him one of the perks of being the cook is deciding how much you put on your own plate. I then asked if he wanted two or three meatballs to which he replied, "I think I need four, I have a really big mouth!"  Four it is Nathan. Four it is.

Enjoying the fruits of his labor

1 comment:

  1. Nathan sounds a lot like my oldest (5yrs). Keeps us on our toes with Mommy creativity :) I like your idea of having Nathan help with EVERYTHING from the planning, shopping, to cooking.


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