Sunday, February 26, 2012

Selective Independitis

Do your children ever show symptoms of Selective Independitis? 

OK, I made that up.  I'm just noticing that sometimes my children are completely dependent on me for survival, showing no signs of capable behavior.  Other times they surprise me with how much they can do without any supervision at all.

Take this week for example.  Usually I make my kids breakfast in the mornings.  One morning I was running late for a meeting and I asked Katherine if she could please make her own bowl of cereal.  I kid you not-- this is how she responded:

"I don't know how."

When I pressed her for more information (With which part do you need further instruction--the cereal or the milk?) she came up with a list of rational arguments that makes me think she might take after her Granddaddy and become a lawyer. 

"Well, first of all, you keep the bowls up too high out of my reach.  I'd have to drag a chair over and that's not very safe.  Then the milk is up high too.  When the gallon jug is really full, it is hard to pour and I might spill it over the counter.  It would be so much faster and easier if you did it for me."

Sigh.  Sometimes I am not a good parent.  According to current articles, completing difficult tasks builds self esteem in children.  These same articles admonish parents: Don't do it for them--just check and help.  Great predictors of a happy future are perseverance and resiliency.  A good parent would have taken the time to properly teach Katherine how to fix her own breakfast.  I was a parent in a hurry.  And she was right.  It was easier to do it myself.

"Here are your Cheerios, honey.  And here's a side of freshly sliced bananas."

Today this same child wanders in to find my head buried in our filing cabinet where I am searching for tax information. 

"Mom, can we bake a cake from scratch?" she asks.

"Hmmm, sure sometime," I respond, distracted.

"How about right now?"

"Now I'm in the middle of something."

"Well can I do it myself?"

"OK, thanks." I nod at her, as I successfully find the car tax paperwork.  It was under CAR instead of TAX. Who would have thought??

After more digging around in the filing cabinet, I finally find all the important paperwork I need for our taxes.  That's when I become aware of sounds coming from the kitchen.

"Katherine, what are you doing?"

"Making a cake."

"A cake??"

"Well, you said I could."

And so she was.  She found a recipe, gathered the ingredients and read the directions.  She had the oven preheated, the dry ingredients mixed and was in the middle of melting butter and cocoa in a saucepan when I came in.  She got the cake in the oven all by herself and made the icing from scratch too.  Now, here's the funny thing.  Paul, Jack and I all gave up dessert for Lent while Katherine chose a different goal.  Not only did Katherine make the whole cake independently, I guess she also gets to eat it independently.  After she cleans up the gigantic mess she made, of course.  Look at my stove!

"Mom, thanks for letting me make my own cake," she says, licking her lips.  "It's delicious." 

Yes, I let my daughter take over the kitchen for the afternoon to make a cake that I can't even eat.  Sometimes I am a very good parent. 

Recipe for Katherine's Chocolate Lent Cake
Cooking Spray
2 t. all-purpose flour
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup half and half
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs

6 T butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla
optional 1/4 cup toasted pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Coat 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 t. flour.
3. Combine flour through salt.  Stir with whisk.
4. Combine water, butter and cocoa in small saucepan, stirring frequently until mixture boils.
5. Remove from heat, pour into flour mixture.  Beat with mixer until well blended. 
6. Add half and half, vanilla and eggs, beat well.
7. Pour batter into pan and bake for 22 minutes until wooden pick comes out clean.
8. To make icing, bring butter, milk and cocoa to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. 
9. Spread icing over hot cake.  Cool Completely.

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