This is Thing One. Our oldest. At eight going on 17, she’s the current leader of the under 5 foot tall brigade in our home. She’s also the absolute picture of a mother hen. Clucking around the boys trying to keep them in line, convince them where they should be and what they should be doing and taken care of them if Mr W or I are more than say…six feet away.
There are times it drives us a bit crazy, but deep down we also recognize the amazing caregiver capacity in her. The desire to take care of the people she loves and the desire to be responsible. My mom laughs whenever she sees this in action, telling me Thing One is the absolute picture of who I was at her age.
But that’s part of what makes me love that side of her so dearly. I’m a caretaker, a woman born to be an Italian grandmother. I feed the people I love and I feed them a lot…and this is one of the things we are seeing pop up in Thing One’s every day life. She wants to join in on the “feeding people” thing.
It started about a month back with breakfast.
Our standard morning routine is to wake up, make sure the kids are up and getting dressed and then for me to pack lunches while Mr W gets the kids breakfast.
Then one morning we awoke to find three kids sitting at the dining room table eating toasted bagels with cream cheese and drinking orange juice.
“I cut the bagels with a butter knife and [Thing Two] climbed up on the counter to put them in the toaster! Then I used a chair to get the cream cheese out of the fridge and since the orange juice was only a half gallon, it was light enough for me to pour it, so I made breakfast!” she explained in a breathless rush of exuberance.
You could just SEE the pride beaming from her grin.
And yay for her! We were both impressed and appreciative. (Especially since it had been one of those nights where neither of us had slept and we were dragging…)
Of course she’s no stranger to the kitchen…she often perches on the bar in the test kitchen while helping me bake things.
So it was no surprise when the next words out of her mouth were “can I do it again tomorrow??”
We told her as long as she didn’t use the stove or a sharp knife and as long as she didn’t make a mess, she could. What followed was a second day of bagels, a day of cereal and a milk and then a morning where she realized we were out of bagels.
So she laid out flour tortillas, shredded cheese, deli ham and grapes and made them breakfast wraps “with fruit…because fruit makes it healthier.”
How do you argue with that?
For the most part, she’s made breakfast each morning since then. Mr W or I step in about once a week to take care of things if she’s slept in or if the kids are running behind. In general though, she wants to make breakfast and she revels in taking care of her brothers.
This morning however, they informed me they no longer wanted to eat cereal for breakfast.
“We don’t really like cereal.”
“It’s not as healthy as other stuff.”
“We don’t need cereal any more.”
“What else can we eat?”
Honestly? It’s hard to argue with that one either. Even though we generally buy the “healthier” cereals like Life and Frosted Mini Wheats, there’s still no arguing that cereal sits pretty low on the nutritious breakfast scale. Especially when our kids are already taking a multi-vitamin and eat an average of 5-8 servings of fruits and veggies per day.
So I’ve started building out a new pinboard for Thing One and I to work from. It’s full of make ahead breakfast ideas and kid friendly morning options that will help keep her from getting board. We’ve found some delicious looking homemade granola recipes, some amazingly low cost recipes for making homemade bagels and english muffins, (the latter of which can be turned into breakfast sandwiches) and freezer friendly “just warm it up” ideas. We even found a few ideas for microwave friendly meals like scrambled eggs in a mug and a pancake in a mug option.
You can follow the new pinboard over on my Pinterest account if you’d like to piggyback off of what we find. You can also leave your own suggestions in the comments of what makes for a great make ahead or “easy for a kid to prepare” breakfast options. We’re going to try to take one or two days a month to sit down and plan out the next month’s worth of options. We’ll of course share any wonderful recipes or ideas we find during our testing.