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Letting a Child Step Up to the Stove

If I learn how to do it once, I certainly can d0 it again. ~Kyle Piper 10/1/11

Kyle Piper at Chef Dato for his
Kyle's 8th Birthday Party with Chef Dato 7/2009

This past Saturday was a rainy, dreary day.  Most people would say  the weather was crappy and a total waste, but I say it was a perfect day to stay inside and do other activities.  Personally, I love cold, rainy days to catch up on books, cleaning, watching movies, and the list goes on and on.  Plus, if you look closely, you become presented with different opportunities that may not come into fruition if the scene was set for a different type of day.

On Saturday, Kyle decided he wanted eggs for breakfast.  Now, at our house we DO breakfast.  On the weekends, we have eggs, bacon, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, fish sandwiches, and sometimes a combination of an assortment.  Yes, I did say fish sandwiches.  My dad loves fish sandwiches for breakfast and it has become a staple in our household.  In fact, when I lived in Pittsburgh, I really missed fish sandwiches for breakfast with the fish caught from the old man himself.

Kyle eating with Aunt Heather Piper
Me and my buddy eating a sandwich, relaxing in front of the TV

So back to Kyle’s eggs.  He wanted his Egg Sandwich Spectacular, something my mom thought up to get veggies into Kyle’s diet.  But alas, we didn’t have the ingredients to add to Kyle’s inspired dish, desperately in need of groceries.  So I told him, “Let’s just make an egg sandwich.”  Simply, it’s fried eggs with the yoke broken (not scrambled) and placed on slightly buttered bread or toast. I put ketchup on mine.  Narrow agreed and I told him to get the skillet and spatula ready.  Then I turned to Kyle and said, “Why don’t you make your own eggs?” He said, “But what if I ruin the eggs? I don’t want to waste them.” I said, “How else are you ever going to learn?  You can only learn so much from watching us, besides, I’ll eat the eggs you won’t eat.”  He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Umm ok, if I learn how to do it once, I certainly can do it again.  But will you help me?”  I smiled and said, “You got it!”

Kyle did a great job!  He started asking everyone in the house if they wanted eggs.  He was on a roll and was enjoying his new found knowledge. Of course, Kyle always did cook with me and mom, so it wasn’t a foreign concept.  But he knew this time he was on his own, so to speak.  I was in the kitchen watching him, but I didn’t stand over his shoulder at the stove.  I sat in front of the computer in the corner of the kitchen, knowing he’d be fine.   When he needed my help he came and asked me.  Over the years, I’ve always reinforced the rules of the kitchen with Kyle and he takes rules very seriously.  It’s against his nature to intentionally break the rules.  In fact, Kyle washed his hands before beginning. I didn’t have to say a word.

Aunt Nikki Piper with Kyle
Aunt Nikki holding our hungry little man at Chad's wedding 2002

Kyle was so excited about his egg making abilities, he told us he would make us eggs before church the following day.  And you know what?  He did just as he promised.  Then, speaking of fish earlier, mom was going to make fish for lunch. Kyle ran to his Gigi and asked if he could help.  My mom walked him through her process of making my dad’s fish.  He did ask if pappy caught these fish and I said, “Ya, he caught the fish in the frozen food isle of the grocery store.”  Narrow really knows my humor.  He gave me a half-cocked smile and went back to work.  I heard him say to my dad, “Pappy, I’m making the fish!”  My dad said, “That’s great buddy, and next I’ll show you how to make deer steaks.”  Boy was Kyle excited!

On a side note, Kyle told me on Sunday about his weekend accomplishments.  He said he learned to make eggs and fish, he finished reading his Harry Potter book (The Chamber of Secrets), and he downloaded and played Lego Universe, evidently he made it to space ranger and he has two dogs, a cat, and a bunny in Lego form on the game.

What seemed like a wasted day, I think, turned out to be a life long lesson for Kyle.  It’s amazing what a little guidance and freedom can do for a child.  It was kinda tough for me to step back and let Kyle take over, but it was a good lesson for us both!  Kyle’s right, now that he’s done it once, he can certainly do it again!

Published inCooking with KyleEducation & LearningMilestoneObservation & ImaginationPatience

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