This morning I got a call from Number 5 who is ten years old at 6:40 am.
I had just pulled into the parking lot for the last day of a 3-day meet Number 4 is swimming in.
Number 5 had just woken up and she just wanted to say hello.
I talked to her for a couple minutes, and told her to make sure her dad made her some breakfast before he left to take Number 6 to a wrestling tournament.
I guess her dad was in a rush to get out of the house, and didn’t have time to make her anything to eat.
She called again at 9:02.
Number 5: Hi Mommy.
Me: I’m just walking into the pool to watch Number 4 swim.
Number 5: I’M SO HUNGRY.
Me: Didn’t Daddy make you some breakfast?
Number 5: No. And there’s literally nothing to eat here. There’s one box of cereal that literally tastes like NOTHING.
(I’ve stopped buying most cereal since my kids go through a box in like four minutes and most of it is total garbage anyway, and the one box we had was generic bran flakes that I bought to use in a recipe and she’s right, it does pretty much taste like nothing. 😂😂😂)
Me: We have tons of food. There’s bread and eggs and cheese and bagels. You could make an egg and cheese or toast with jelly or toast with peanut butter. Or you could have some fruit.
Number 5: I don’t know how to cook an egg.
Me: Is Number 3 awake yet?
Number 5: No. And even if he was I don’t want to talk to him.
Number 3 has been sick, so I didn’t want her to wake him up, but I thought maybe if he was awake he could help her out.
But he’s a teenage older brother, and they aren’t exactly BFF’s most of the time as it is.
Number 5, after thinking for a couple minutes: I know, Mommy, I could make pancakes!
We have some of that just-add-water pancake mix.
Number 5 has done the flipping of many pancakes, but she’s never really made them from start to finish. She has definitely never turned on the stove herself, and she hasn’t preheated a pan or gotten it ready.
I’ve always done that for her, or Number 4 has helped her with that.
She asked me how to turn on the stove and what she had to do.
This is where having multiple children comes in handy.
Because four kids ago, I never would have attempted this over the phone. I would have told 10-year-old Number 1, 2 or 3 to stay away from the stove, eat some toast, and wait for me to come home.
But not now.
Now I’m much more laid back and much more willing to allow my kids to take initiative, especially in the kitchen.
So I began to talk her through the steps.
“Hold on, Mommy! I have to get a piece of paper so I can write this down!” she said, excitedly.
I think she felt pretty grown up.
I told her what to do. And then I told her Number 4 was going to swim in a couple minutes and to call me if she had any trouble.
She called back 6 minutes later with one question, and then I didn’t hear from her again.
So she had either been successful with the pancakes, or she had deafulted to toast or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
When I got home around 11:45 this morning, Number 3 was awake and he and Number 5 were in the kitchen.
“Did you make the pancakes?” I asked Number 5.
“YEP!” she said.
“YEAH, AND THEN SHE ATE THEM ALL,” Number 3 said. “THERE WERE NONE LEFT FOR ME.”
“Well he took forever to come downstairs, so I ate them all myself,” she said, matter-of-factly.
Number 3 did make himself a sandwich, and clearly survived.
But Number 5 was really, really proud of herself.
So what did I learn today?
- My kids are way more capable than I think sometimes and I need to remember that.
- I enjoy cooking and I like taking care of my family but I do too much for them.
- Kids feel really good about themselves when they do “grown up” stuff and giving your kids responsibilities is empowering and helps them develop self-reliance and self-confidence.
- Younger siblings can set an example for older ones.
- We need more pancake mix.