I have identified one calming mechanism I typically utilize – I love to bake. I find myself calming from life stressors during the process and even as I am cleaning up the mess I have made. My kitchen actually usually never looks cleaner than when I am finishing up baking.
Recently, I was getting to the point where I needed a good bake. I needed to let off some steam, and just make something in my kitchen. I also had a couple bananas that needed to get used before they went bad, and realized I hadn’t baked banana bread in a while.
When my son heard I was baking, he ran into the kitchen and begged to help! When he helps, I notice my organization comes out even more than usual. I pre-measure ingredients, placing them in small containers I know are easy for him to handle.
This time, however, I had already combined most of the ingredients. So, his only jobs became placing baking cups in the cupcake pan, adding the vanilla and cinnamon, and scooping the batter into the cups.
I felt an overwhelming sense of pride, watching how proud of himself he became as he finished putting the cups into the pan, sorting the colors of the cups in just the right order for his liking.
Then, for the first time, he insisted on helping me fill the baking cups – not wanting my help for any of the cups, except to pre-fill the measuring cup.
Again, I was surprised at the pride I found myself exuding as he so eagerly wanted to help. He was very careful to not drop any batter, and he chattered to his trusty Paw Patrol pups as he accomplished the task at hand.
When everything was said and done, and cupcakes were cooled, he wanted me to remove the baking cups from the banana bread muffins. He insisted I leave the blue baking cups on those designated muffins; I suspect this was done to ensure he knew which muffins were his, and so he could make sure everyone else knew that those four were his muffins.
I have noticed, as my son gets older, I am enjoying including him in activities that were once solo activities.
I acknowledge I was initially uptight about letting him help me – whether it was cooking, baking, washing things, helping me carry things, etc. However, as time goes by, I am beginning to let him take the lead.
I have had to learn to step aside, and let him assert some independence and ownership. I stand behind him, or to his side, encouraging him. But, I have to give him a hands-off approach – allowing him to plan and execute ideas, and letting him troubleshoot when solutions are needed to problems that may arise.
Watching this entire process unfold excites me!
I am excited to see how he continues to unfold his layers of personality.
I am excited to see how he hones his individuality and strong-will.
I am excited to see how he channels his strengths and gifts.
I am excited for all the life lessons we will learn – together!