Now that I have a toddler, parenting lessons are happening every day but I’ve been trying my best to not just see it as a phase but understand what his needs are.
I’m learning that my little one loves to watch and be in the kitchen with me. He loves to see what I’m stirring, chopping, and putting in the oven. I can only hope it means that he’ll take up cooking as a hobby at some point. Not a chef though, I think it’ll be hard to get him to cook for family gatherings… so just a hobby.
Since we moved into our house though, he’s had more cupboards, a new gas range and new ovens to explore. I try my best to keep him away from them but I can only do so much. I’ve resorted to putting him in his high chair and giving him snacks while I cook. That way he can still see what’s going on but from a little distance. He’s also aware that after his bath, when he hears the gas stove ignite that I’m warming his milk to have before bed and insists on me picking him up so he can watch the pot.
I thought I could teach him to stop going in the cupboards and pulling at everything but his kitchen shenanigans have taught me a few things.
- One of the reasons he does it, is to get my attention. When he comes to me and I’m busy with dirty hands, he opens every cupboard door and touches things or pulls them out until I pick him up. I finally bought cupboard locks on Monday.
- Babies can’t talk and when they exhibit a certain behavior, in your frustration, it’s better to try to understand their needs than think they’re being naughty.
- I should’ve bought those locks when we moved in. Even though it’s only been 3 days and they’re driving me insane.
- This is a natural learning behavior – to be inquisitive. While it should be encouraged, I do not need to have it happen all the time so the locks will help me keep my sanity a bit. It is a teaching moment for both of us – it’s teaching me patience and he’s learning about the kitchen and what is used in it.
There may be a million books on parenting but the one thing you don’t need a book for is patience – it’s at the heart of parenting. We all have our days when our patience is wearing thin or is practically non-existent, just make sure those days aren’t the norm.
For the last two weeks I’ve been creating a weekly menu (Monday-Thursday, Sunday I just cook whatever I put my hands on). I got the idea here my first week on Pinterest. I’ve found this to be very cost effective as it helps me to prepare a better shopping list as I know what I will be cooking. It also encourages me to cook! I can take out the meat the night before and put it in the fridge or the same day early in the morning because I know what I will be cooking. That way I don’t get frustrated trying to figure out what to cook and end up taking out meat too late and then dinner is also late and rushed.
This menu also makes me get creative with what I’ll be cooking as you don’t want to repeat meals too often. I’d say I spend a good half an hour or more just trying to think of meals for 4 days! Also I try not to cook too much wheat as it’s one of the foods that I’m sensitive too but I just try not to indulge too often. That means I’m left with potatoes, rice or rice pasta.
Last week’s menu looked like this:
Monday: Lamb stew with rice and peas (in Barbados, rice and peas are cooked together so in the future this is what I mean when I say rice and peas)
Tuesday: baked pork chops, macaroni pie (basically baked mac & cheese) and potato salad
Wednesday: Sautéed chicken strips and rice
Thursday: Home-made fried chicken and chips (we were travelling the next day)
Monday: “Shepherd’s Pie” (made with idaho and sweet potatoes and turkey not beef)
Tuesday: Chicken chow mein
Wednesday: Beef stew and rice and peas
Thursday: Spaghetti and ground beef (mixed together)
I try to think of meals that will be easy to pull together as I don’t always have a lot of time to prep and prepare meals. When I went to the supermarket on Monday, I found fresh diced onions. I jumped for joy (on the inside) and grabbed the white and red onions. This was amazing as I hate cutting onions, and I use them in every meal so this has made me hop into the kitchen faster. I hope to keep this up and not drop it within the next two weeks. As it is, my husband and I check each other’s schedules on Sunday to know how the week will go so I’ve added this menu planning to that. It’s so much easier to have a general idea of the week ahead instead of diving head first into it and just scrambling for the rest of the week. Hope I helped you with your planning this week :).