I spent the evening helping the boy learn how to make lasagna. Not a fancy recipe. We used ground beef and sausage, a couple jars of marina sauce, and shredded our own cheeses. I opted for cottage cheese over ricotta because… well, because I’m cheap.
Cooking the noodles was easy, and he did a great job of stirring together the cottage cheese, eggs, and freshly grated Parmesan. He even chopped up a little parsley. He integrated the layers as I scooped the various ingredients into the dish. He really enjoyed smoothing out the stuff with a spatula. He sang a song as he worked, describing what he was doing in his “spatula song.” I couldn’t help but enjoy his enthusiasm.
It’s fun to see things through your kid’s eyes sometimes. So much of daily life as an adult is repetition, rote movements that we walk through like robots. I’ve made lasagna a hundred times. For me, it’s just a functional activity. I only do it because it makes tasty food. For my son, each step was a totally new adventure, a tiny new piece of Life to be learned. He devoured it all, gleefully. He’s even already applying other cooking techniques that he learned previously. It’s a special treat to see it start to come together for him.
And, of course, he made some beautiful lasagna.
I encourage everyone to cook with your kids. It’s a great together activity and they learn one of the most valuable life skills that exists. And, you get to enjoy cooking for a bit yourself.
This week we celebrated some big milestones. So, of course, we went to Jiffy Treet. I ordered the Turtle Sundae. I was not disappointed.
I really like Jiffy Treet. They have a very diverse menu, from the obvious ice creams (handmade and soft serve), but also some fairly delicious alternatives like frozen yogurt and “whip”. They even have a not-horrible sandwich menu. Obviously, an ice cream place isn’t expected to have big, hearty, and amazing sandwiches. But the food is actually more than passable.
I also like that they seem to be pretty good at staffing. The stores are always bustling with a group of 4-5 younger college-aged kids, which is often a recipe for disaster. But, at least in my experience, I have never had seen any negative or disruptive behavior. Quite the opposite. Their staff have always been fast, efficient, and super friendly. I have to believe they actually enjoy their jobs. So bravo to the owners and management. You either treat your staff really well, or have figured out how to get them all to pretend really well.
The boy just gave me his Summer 2017 To Do List: Play Pretend pirates in the woods with his older sister, play D&D as a family, invent his own game, and completely conquer Minecraft. Its a solid list.
I love that he’s a list maker like his mother. It will serve him well. List making and goal setting are incredibly powerful habits to form.
I love that he’s fearless. He has big goals. Invent a game? Completely conquer Minecraft? I’ve often said the worst thing you can do to a kid is to saddle them with low expectations for themselves. I mean, why would you ever tell a kid that he can’t achieve something? Let them aim high. I’m always amazed at how these kids see the world and assume they will conquer it. I grew up afraid, assuming there was no place for me at the table. I’m so glad and grateful to my Wonderful Wife for gifting our kids with high expectations. It’s such a huge advantage in life.
Most of all I love that half his list is things that he wants to do with his family. This young man is all about family. Even for a pre-teen who is starting to not want to sit with us at school events, and won’t let me hold his hand when we cross streets, he’s still super snuggly and loving. At home at least. I just love that about him. I can’t help but worry how long that will last. I fear it’s inevitable that he’ll start putting up those toxic macho BS walls. I know from personal experience that, as a boy of a certain age, when he shows affection, he’ll face scrutiny at best and open ridicule at worst. But, for now, he’s all love and affection.
Son, I hope your Summer 2017 lives up to your high expectations. You deserve nothing less.