Monday, November 23, 2009

A New Season

My oldest is eight years old, and my sixth child was born two months ago.
I have found this baby to be one of my easiest adjustments, and there is surely some truth in the train of thought that says "...after four or five what's one more?"

So many of the difficulties in practical daily living are worked out by the time one reaches that number which fills one handful of fingers.
There may be other milestone numbers for those with ten or more. I'd be interested to hear from that camp. It's a humbling process of learning, growing, making mistakes, and enjoying successes no matter what number of children reside in our homes!

One of the things I noticed this time around is how capable my oldest children are in making the household run smoothly in my absence (absences include catching needed Z's, nursing, or having hands full with other necessary things)

For instance, both boys are able to help Carolina (age two) into her booster chair for meals. They can each wash her up and get her down afterward. Those two things alone are a tremendous help!

Zachary is now making breakfast for all the children most days. He is my early bird, and I am a bit slow to rise in the morning. He is always asking what's for breakfast before I crack my eyelids, so a couple months ago I took the time to help him learn to make oatmeal.

About four days a week he cooks oatmeal, serves it, gets Carolina into her chair, prays over breakfast, clears the table, and gets the empty oatmeal pot soaking in water - often before I greet the day!

I am a bit paranoid about messes in the kitchen, but I finally decided that my children's capabilities are endless if I will only allow them to learn and even make some mistakes in the process. Just having breakfast taken care of allows me to immediately prepare for the day's work in school, errands, or getting a load of laundry started.

The job of teaching Zack to make breakfast was a process.
We had to get a system of steps honed in for him to follow.

  • Step 1: get out pot.
  • Step 2: scoop X amount of oats into it.
  • Step 3: add X cups of water... and so on.

After he got the oatmeal making process down, we had to work on the follow up steps of table clearing, and making sure the bowls were emptied of scraps and filled with water (so the oats would come off later for the dishwasher-loader!).
After that it took some days to help him remember to put away ingredients and utensils, and get that pot soaking too.

There are loose ends still. I need to help my number two son learn follow through with his share. The table isn't usually wiped, nor the floor swept.
Unfortunately THOSE are the things I notice when I scrutinize, but I am learning to relax a little, and especially to LOOK FOR the many successes. The little victories- and there are new ones every day, even if the progress isn't as fast as I'd like it to be!

Zachary has since taught himself to make pancakes (which are already stacked on a plate when I get up on Saturday morning), and has a favorite banana bread recipe too.

It will soon be time for me to stretch his repertoire and add to his skills, but besides wanting to praise his accomplishments, I wish to encourage you.
The season has finally shifted for me: Big helpers finally!
What a blessing:-)

If you are weary, be steadfast friend.

Your time is coming!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for those lovely words of encouragement! My oldest, yet still very little, guy loves to push a broom around and put away dishes. Sometimes his "helping" doesn't actually help (if you know what I mean... that's what Corelle is for, right? ;-) ), but I'm looking forward to the day when the endeavors of his willing little heart will become very helpful indeed. :-)

Xenia Kathryn said...

Wow, that is incredible!! Great work, Zachary!

My 3.5 year old is an early riser too, and she usually grabs an apple or a banana for her and little sis (18 mos.). Hey, if it gives me some extra time to snooze, I'll take it! Today bananas, tomorrow pancakes! Hehehe.

Very encouraging to read.

Morgan said...

I am so impressed! It's already nice having Judah being such a helper at 5, but it's amazing what a difference only a few years makes. What a blessing!

Jess said...

looking forward to it. I can already see it coming in some ways as they prepare breakfast bowls for us all. Even the two year old is starting to get in on that act.

petersonclan said...

Things get utterly crazy again when #s 8, 9, & 10 are all under 3, and #s 1-6 are homeschooling. It then becomes sheer insanity.

Lady Jess said...

Wowzers, what a son!

Shauna said...

How wonderful 'Lene!

Way to go with helping your mom, Zack!

Grace McHugh said...

Thank you for the encouragement. I hold back on teaching my older ones because of the mess that will follow. Sigh. I am a control freak in the kitchen. But I see the wonderful results of you letting go and being willing to allow that mess to happen. Good job Zachary!

Diane said...

That is SO awesome. Great job Zachary! What a helper. I am glad your children are growing into little helpers and blessing you. That is awesome.

sonshinersmama said...

From the camp with more. It is a blast! With more kids, there are more helpers. So we get lots done and play more. Oh there are more messes..but more to help clean up! You do have to allow some mess. But I have taught mine how I like it cleaned up and we sometimes have to go over it again and again. But they get it and what a treasure are children who can help little ones, make breakfast, do the laundry, put it away!! We are working ourselves right out of a job..not really! Now we have more time to do what God has called us to do, without being overwhelmed that nothing is getting done while the children play..they can work too! The treasure is then you get young women who can run a household and young men who take responsibility and will one day be a treasure to their wives! I'm at both ends and yes sometimes it seems like insanity. Mostly, it is a blessing. Oh and there is not a lack of funness at this house..we are addicted to fun!