I wrote earlier about the "checked out" sensation that had plagued me all winter and into the spring and summer. Finding energy to have my little ones help is one of the joys I've recently been blessed to rediscover.
My little ones have been helping me fold clothes lately.
"Mama, how do you fold shirts? Do towels go like this? Did I do this one right, Mom?"
Tonight while making supper, I had them help cut up veggies for the taco toppings.
Stella did two cans of olives. I was working on something that ended up using more concentration than I had planned, so by the time I noticed, she had gathered all the paraphernalia she needed and had opened the cans herself. Stella will be seven in the fall. When I got in there to check on her, the cans were, well, mangled. One of them at least was quite strange looking. She apparently had the can opener on sideways at first, and so cut the can below the lip. But then, I'm guessing, someone said something to her about it having been done wrongly. Because it was also opened in the normal fashion. So there was this ring of lip that was hanging at an angle, and then the lid itself off to the side. I'm really stumped as to how she managed it. But the olives were minced well, so the job got done.
Next, Donna did some green peppers. I cut them into strips for her first, so she only had to do the cross cuts. Donna is almost five.
Inge came running in and wanted to help, too. I set her up on the counter. The same counter, that is, down from which I'm constantly chasing her. She just sat and giggled. "You put me up here, Mama."
I had tomoatoes and onions to dice yet, so I did all but a few slices of each. Then I gave Inge the little left over bits to finish up. She did a fine job of it, too. Inge is all of three and a half.
I don't have my little girls help much, especially not lately. It's so much easier to grab one of the bigger kids who are independent. I found it a real pleasure to see my girls work, and to watch how able they were becoming.
I had to smile to myself when I saw how little Inge moved her pieces to the bowls when she was done. I watched as she would gather a little pile together with the edge of her knife and use it to scoop them into the bowl. I do this all the time without even thinking about it. Usually I'm using an ulu or a chef's knife. The wide blades on those knives are very suited to such lifting. Here Inge was with a little paring knife, imitating Mama, by balancing all those little pieces onto the blade. What a little sweetie!
Then during supper, after we had dished up for our first helpings, the onions were sitting near Inge. She grabbed them and reached out as if to pass them toward Joe. She said, "Daddy, do you want some onions? I maded them."
Then, of course, the other girls had to pipe in telling which things they had "maded," too. We all got a good giggle out of that, and the girls got a kick out of telling Daddy how much they had helped.
When we were gathered for bedtime prayers tonight, Joe said a special thank-you to all of them for their had work, and for fixing such a nice supper.