Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nice to have some help!

Last week I had a women's conference to attend at church where they were serving dinner. Some mom's make something yummy to leave at home for their families to eat while they're gone. I, on the other hand, asked Sebastian to make waffles. Don't get me wrong; waffles are very yummy and tasty...they just aren't what I wanted for dinner so it seemed like a good night to have them. :)
Sebastian would probably really enjoy more cooking opportunities then I currently give him. He is pretty good at following recipes (see above photo of him checking his recipe to make sure he has all the ingredients needed) and cleaning up as he goes along. So far, he makes eggs/omelets, cookies, ramen, and pancake/waffle batter. It is very handy to be able to ask him to make these things from time to time and he does a good job.

Brighton, on the other hand, is not a whole lot of help in the kitchen! He now thinks it is super fun to climb on the stove (hello...dangerous!) and he loves to be in on the action. My left arm is significantly more muscular than my right from carrying him on my hip while I cook and clean in the kitchen!
All the kids are great helpers. They are very ready to grab Brighton off the table, rescue him from falling down the stairs, help find a lost paci or numerous other tasks that make it a bit easier to care for a busy little toddler.
A few months ago, we instituted a "buddy" system in the house. Each of the three older kids has a younger child as their "buddy" whom they help with various tasks and in general look out for them. I was surprised how ready and willing (even excited!) the older kids were to take on this new responsibility. Sebastian is Haven's buddy, Elijah is Scarlett's and Fiona is Brighton's. Generally, the only things Haven really needs help with is maybe finding shoes, help with lunch...not too much else at home. The one day a week they attend school, though, Sebastian is super diligent about looking out for her. He always waits for her to get out of the car at the curb and follows her into the building escorting her to her classroom. He waits at the end of the day to make sure Haven comes out and doesn't come to the car until she is already in. (He actually does this for Fiona too, even though he is not her "buddy".) Elijah is very helpful in being Scarlett's buddy. He will often get a cup for her, a snack for her, a bowl for her, etc. He helps her with shoes sometimes and in general tries to keep an eye out for her when they play outside and things. Fiona is great with Brighton. She is always willing to pick him up, tote him around, give him his paci, get him up from naps, give him a drink or snack, etc. Everyone helps with Brighton, but I try to remember to ask her as he is her buddy and she is always there to help. I have really liked watching the older kids feel a since of responsibility for their younger siblings. It is certainly not their job to take care of them or be in charge of them (that is what parent's are for,) but have some responsibility and care for a younger sibling is a great learning tool and has provided them with a chance to form a bit more compassion and empathy for the younger ones. I think it has helped the younger ones to feel a bit more cared for and loved by the older ones, as well. :)

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