I felt like we were having the most magical fall and mommy-daughter moment ever when we made pie crusts together. She can dump things into a bowl fairly well, if not with some extra mess, and can at least pretend to stir ingredients with a spoon. Patting the dough into the bottom of pie plates (the lazy/busy lady way of making pie crust, as opposed to actually rolling it out with a rolling pin, etc.) was a special treat, though, because it’s not a typical kitchen activity. There was lots of reminders to be “gentle” but so worth it, even if I did have to go back over and smooth holes and such after taking a time out to snap some photos of my little baker.
This has been going on for quite a while now, and I should have already written something up, but it’s hard to take a time out and get photos of this toddler magic when working in the kitchen with a toddler on the loose! One of our first magic moments was when I actually used her help in washing green beans. I have been blessed with a really good eater, but pickiness has definitely come in with being two; however, green beans have always been something she likes – even as a baby eating pureed vegetables, green beans were like a special treat. So, it fits that she would kick off her serious kitchen aid by washing her one, trusty vegetable. She was the cutest thing you’ve ever seen in her little apron that my Honey had bought for her (we have matching ones), and even though she sprayed water a lot of places besides in the bottom of the sink, she did manage to hold the green beans underneath the stream as well. I was so excited that we had a photo shoot, and she gave me one of her signature expressions in the last photo.
What’s really funny, now, is that she LOVES to be a kitchen helper. If she so much as hears me clanging in the kitchen, she runs in there and starts pulling on a chair, asking me to pull her chair into the kitchen so she can help me. She will randomly tell me, “let’s bake something” and try to lure me into the kitchen. I find myself sneaking into the kitchen to put stuff in the crockpot or whatever to avoid the extra mess, but I know if I have to use a mixer, my kitchen helper will hear it and be in there to assist in under 2 seconds, dragging a chair. She wants a job. She wants to be useful. She is my typical, first-born girl personality with a desire to be a helper, a big girl, take care of babies, boss people around, and do things by herself. I see myself in her.
Whenever I get reflective about parenting, I think of how God must see us, His children, and how that relates to my attitudes, dilemmas, and musings about my little girl. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” So just as I see myself in Pen Elaine, God must see parts of Himself in us. Of course, I see the good and bad of myself in my daughter sometimes, while God only has good traits to pass along! God cultivates those positive qualities of His in us, and I want to be able to do the same for Pen Elaine, to encourage those sweet tendencies to help or give care, even if that means taking a little more time to prepare a dish or clean up the mess. Besides, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…” (C. C. Colton) It makes me wonder about the extra care that God gives to encourage our tendencies that still need growing to actually be helpful, and the extra dose of patience we require…to allow us to be or feel useful. One of my most treasured gifts from God is His purpose for our life and the hope that brings, for myself and for the ones I love.
Romans 9:17: For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” (NASB)
Ephesians 2:8-10: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)
I’d like to take advantage of the gift of purpose God has given, to pray in belief and sieze moments of opportunity to obey and emulate His goodness and grace. Especially in this season of growing my own little one with her own purposes to discover and characteristics to develop, I want to reflect the same grace and patience and eagerness that God has shown to me. Additionally, the eagerness that she has for helping in the kitchen inspires me to eagerly desire after glorifying and knowing Jesus more each day.