Raising kids is a long series of TILTBs.
The kids have the Disney Royal Recipe Collection cookbook, and their favorite recipe in it is for Sandy Scoops (brought to you by Ariel and her Under the Sea Snacks). Invariably, this results in cinnamon and sugar on the table and the floor, and dirty measuring spoons, cutting boards, and cookie sheets on the counter. (We are working on making dishwasher-loading part of the kids’ kitchen expertise, but that’s a whole other issue.) But it also results in the kids using measuring tools in two different sizes, cutting tortillas by themselves to the size they want it to be (they favor pizza cutters for this, so they are also learning to differentiate between what tools are best and easiest for them to use), and safely removing a hot pan from the toaster oven (if I have been slow on dishwasher training, I feel like I’ve made up for it on ensuring that they remember to turn the toaster oven off).
But it’s more than making a tasty snack all by themselves. Sure, there’s the mathematics-education value of how 1/4 vs. whole-sized measuring spoons compare to one another. There is some science value in observing which pot holders insulate your hand against heat better, or even our discussions about how reflexes keep our extremities safe. And all of that is wonderful, but what it really comes down to, is that my kids can feed themselves. And they know it. They are becoming increasingly comfortable in the kitchen (and we aren’t neglecting the grocery store, either), and I know that whatever else is going on in their lives – they can eat.
There are lots of things that are important life skills, and I have forgotten that there is so much to learn. I don’t think I realized at the time that I was learning life skills, but now I am acutely aware that the kids need to learn these things to be the confident, capable, and successful people it is our privilege to help them become.
Sugar on the floor, crumbs in the butter, tomato sauce splattered on the stovetop, strange ingredients in the fridge, and a pile of dirty dishes are inconvenient. But the benefits are so worth it.