Monday, September 27, 2010

The end of an era

It all started nine and a half years ago...Rachel got a present from my mom's cousin, Mary. It was a super-soft, white bear. Immediately, she became attached to that bear and carried it with her everywhere. She simply named him, "Bear." She slept with him for a couple years straight before he was accidentally forgotten. After many tears and a substitute unicorn, she made it through that night, but he was not forgotten again for many years.

Over the past year or so, sleepovers have been arranged on the spur of the moment, and I've been able to talk Rachel out of the obligatory drive over to bring Bear. But, he still had a warm spot in her bed every night here.

Last week, as we were hanging a new shelf in her room, Rachel decided that she was willing to put Bear up there for good. I could tell it was a decision she felt she needed to do because she was growing up but that it was hard to do. So, he now has a prime location on her shelf overlooking her room. I'm happy that she decided to put him up before he was too destroyed. He's no longer white or soft. He's been sewn a few times to fix broken seams. But, he's been such a part of Rachel's childhood that I wanted to keep him as a memento.

It was very much a bittersweet moment for me. I'm happy to be done having to remember that Bear on every trip or search the house high and low to find him to get her to sleep. But, it's a clear sign that she's growing up. My baby girl is no longer a baby and that definitely brings tears to my eyes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Responsibilities

I read an article about a lady that was dying of cancer. She wanted to find ways to help her family after she was gone, so one thing she did was to teach each of her kids to make one meal. I think she had 5 kids, so she figured they would at least be able to make these 5 meals. I found this incredibly sad, but I liked the idea of teaching kids to make a specific meal. While the kids have always helped some in the kitchen, I wanted to pick meals for each of them that they would always be responsible for helping me with, so they could learn how to make something from start to finish.

We've just started this, and it is working out very well. Rachel has picked the family favorite of Parmesan Chicken. She even made some (almost on her own) for our neighbor that just had a baby. Matthew helped make spaghetti last night - and only Matthew, which led to some frustrations because everyone wanted to help. But, the beauty of it is that one kid gets that special role at a time.

So, tonight, it was Zack's turn. We had a simple dinner of pancakes and sausage links. Despite the flour all over my newly-cleaned kitchen floor and the egg shells I had to pick out, I let Zack do most of the work. I even let go enough to let him pour the batter on the griddle. It was hard because I'm surprisingly a little bit of a Nervous Nelly. He loved it and did such a great job.

After soccer, we came back to cook the remaining batter for frozen pancakes. Alex and Rachel really wanted to help this time, so I let them take it on themselves. I had to look away a little and let my desires to control the situation go, but once I did, it was like a light bulb went on. They happily cooked pancakes for 30 minutes while I cleaned up, read with Zack, put Matthew to bed. I really saw the beauty
of this new plan. I think we might be having pancakes for breakfast every night!

The new (and improved?) Naked Chef
At least by this point, I had made him put something else on besides his underwear that he was wearing to bed.