Always Real, Sometimes Sweet

Lick The Bowl

Yesterday morning, Sean decided that we should make muffins for breakfast.  I told him I thought that was a great idea and that he should do that; he should make us some muffins.

Sean has been my sous chef since he was old enough to stand upright on his own.  I love having him in the kitchen with me. It always seemed easier to me to give him something to stir or maul with a dull knife than to run him off or park him in front of the TV.  Sure,  early on it was a bit of trouble and mess, but now it’s paying dividends. He’s grown into a good helper in the kitchen and cooking is what we do together.

So yesterday morning, I got a package of muffin mix out of the pantry while he grabbed a mixing bowl and a big spoon and climbed up on his stool to reach the counter.  I handed him the mix and the half cup of milk that the package called for and told him to go to town, let there be muffins.  I pre-heated the oven while he mixed it all up satisfactorily and filled the muffin tins.  I popped it all in the oven and then we waited.

While we were waiting he asked me if he could lick the bowl.  Since no raw eggs were involved, I didn’t see why not, so I said sure, lick the bowl.

I sat down at my desk in the kitchen to check my email and when I turned to check the timer on the oven, I saw a skinny little pajama-clad boy standing on a stool in my kitchen with his entire head in the bowl.  He was licking the bowl.  I guess I sort of assumed that he would lick the bowl with his fingers or the spoon, but instead he opted for the more direct route.

“Dude!” I laughed, “What are you doing?”

When he pulled the bowl away from his face, he had muffin mix on his chin, on his nose, across his forehead and in his hair.

“What?” he asked. “I’m licking the bowl!”

I couldn’t think of one thing to say, so I just looked at him and tried to memorize the image of my boy chef with muffin mix on his face and in his hair.

And I thought, if I could capture these golden delicious days, I’d put them in a bowl and then I’d stick my head in and lick it clean.


Cooking at Cousin Judy’s in 2007

28 thoughts on “Lick The Bowl

  1. He’s so adorable.

    On the few occasions I’ve had my daughter help in the kitchen, there have been disasters.

    Your post reminds me I need to get over myself and just enjoy her and our time together.

    Thank you.

    * * *

    We’ve had our share of disasters, but nothing that couldn’t be wiped up.

    Start with a lot of supervision, lots of praise and gratitude for “helping” and overheard bragging on her. Before long, you won’t have to supervise as much and you’ll have yourself an enthusiastic helper too. There are so many good things that come from spending time with your kiddo in the kitchen, it would take a book to say it all. So I’ll spare you and encourage you instead to try again. And again.

    There is just a lot to learn about life in a kitchen. ~AM

  2. I love to have my kids helping in the kitchen. Now, with just a little supervision my older two can make nearly the entire meal, including roast chicken and chicken fajita. For my birthday they have asked if they can make a 3 course meal and serve it!

    * * * *
    Whatever effort and grief it takes to help them learn their way around the kitchen is worth it. Ironically, the earlier you start, the easier it is. Cooking is not only a life skill, it’s a joy. Most of the time.

  3. Don’t you love how their zest for life reminds us that life is zesty?

    I think it’s great that he’s your kitchen helper–and love his official head-gear! I know I could get my 3 year old to do anything in the kitchen if I gave him an official kitchen-guy hat to wear!

    * * *
    I think you can get those little hats at Krispy Kreme. Maybe the real purpose of those little paper hats is to keep the batter out of your hair when you are licking the bowl.

  4. I like RefreshMom’s comment about zest for life! My daughter constantly reminds me of simple joys – like looking at the moon, picking dandelions, eating mini-marshmallows one at a time, and wearing silly sunglasses.

  5. …what a delightful memory-making moment with your little “muffin man”! oh,what a world it would be if we all would have just a hint of his enthusiasm!

  6. Aw that is so sweet. This morning as I was dropping of my daughter for her first day of HIGH SCHOOL I was reminded of just how quickly time is slipping away and how we all really need to ‘lick the bowl’ more often, rather than just rush around trying to get it all done.

  7. I love your stories! My baby boy is 17 and started his first day as a Sr. in high school. I’m so sad. I miss the days you describe with your sweet boy Sean. I love that you embrace everything he does. We tried to do the same with our son. I miss him being so small. I guess I should be happy. I will be 39 when he graduates high school.

  8. Well, you DID say he could lick the bowl. I love the way kids take life so literally.

    And it does pay off, those tiny hands in the kitchen. Like when your teenage daughter has a friend over, you can start dropping hints about how good warm chocolate chip cookies would taste right now. Soon, you’re being presented with a plate of them, a glass of milk and a clean kitchen.

    Brainwashing helps too, I guess.

  9. Love it!

    I super enjoy having my Little Man helping in the kitchen. It’s such a joy to have him go get his apron and his “two step” (step stool) and climb up to help stir, cut, wash, etc.

    He’ll be three next week and sure it’s a huge mess, but so worth it! I’m looking forward to the days when he can do it “all by his-self”.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. I cherish the memories of my boys helping in the kitchen and licking the bowl. It pays off too. They both share the cooking with their wives and are very comfortable in all household tasks.

  11. Yesterday was our anniv and our kids cooked us supper. It was very tasty and minimal help was needed–and it was quite a complicated meal! You will soon be seeing some real dividends to your patience in the kitchen 🙂

  12. I try over and over to have Anja “help” in the kitchen. And over and over she gets rambunctious and starts flailing things all over or chucking entire onions into the pot. At what age might I be able to expect her to actually understand how to stir or roll out some dough? Even with the mess, I still want to encourage her involvement, but it is really hard to find things she can do…

    * * *
    I guess I am sort of passionate about cooking with kids. Moms have had kids at their elbow while trying to make a meal since we lived in caves and I just think there is much goodness and joy and learning to be found in that space.

    I started cooking with Sean when he was about two, old enough to stand up by himself. Before that I would give him an empty bowl with a spoon and he would watch and imitate and pretend.

    But around two I started giving him little jobs. I would give him a bowl of something to stir with a lot close supervision – less supervision and more independence as he learned and proved himself. Flour will get stirred out of the bowl. Later, I would let him cut up apples or bananas with a dull knife standing over him saying “Watch your fingers, Watch your fingers, Know where your fingers are” a zillion times. And then less so the more he proved he could be responsible. Now he uses a regular paring knife. Loves to cut up veggies for me or fruit for a fruit salad – I peel, he dices. He started cracking eggs at three. Sure we lost a few on the floor but eggs are cheap. Now he cracks them perfectly. The only way to learn is to do and, yup, it’s a bit of a pain early on. Short tasks for short attentions spans are best.

    Don’t expect much when they are little and don’t give up! Teaching happens in advance of learning and learning happens by doing.

  13. Oh, AM, you do not know the good you are doing by encouraging your little chef. My kids (mixed genders) learned early to cook, and then to do their own laundry. There were so many of us that each one had to learn all the chores so they could rotate.

    When older, they learned to change a tire and put oil into the car.

    One of our family mottos was: The work doesn’t care who does it.” That is still a good attitude for sharing the loads.

  14. I remember licking the bowl just that way myself all those years ago…and you know what, next time I bake I’m going to jolly well do it that way again!

  15. Get that boy a toque and a set of whites. In a couple of years he could learn proper knife technique and be dicing up veggies for a good mirepoix.

    Very good to get kids into the kitchen early.

  16. When I get to heaven I’m going to request that my swimming pool be a giant bowl of brownie batter.

    I think Shawn has the right idea for sure!

    Hope you are doing well my friend! I’m trying to figure out when I can get to Texas again to see you~

  17. I made my first meal in college. I had no idea what I was doing and I broiled BBQ chicken in the oven until the chicken was a brick and the sauce was literally turned to charcoal.

    I think maybe I need to get my girls in the kitchen before they go off to college (they’re 4 & 6 now) and they don’t know what to do.

  18. Today at lunch I let my 1.5 year old daughter help me stir the quiche stuff. She has a stool and her 3.5 year old brother has a stool and they know that when I’m cooking, they have a spot next to me on the counter! Maybe I should let my son crack the eggs at breakfast on Saturday…we have plenty! =)

  19. This reminded me of a post you wrote a while back about The Muffin Man. (You told Sean that the MM had come to the window and sold you the muffins. He said he didn’t believe you…but then he looked!) Now, he is Le Chef. Oh, how the days go by.

  20. I have those same sweet thoughts every day. We can take photo after photo, jot things down but in the end, just absorbing moments like this into your heart is what it ends up being.

    I love reading Sean stories. He’s so sweet and loving, with a side of imp. What a great mixture!



  21. My hubby is far better at this than I am, but I am learning…I’m finally getting to where I am choosing to place some confidence in my kids – because they really do love to help!

    Thanks for the inspiration to say “Yes” whenever possible…

  22. It’s all about enjoying the journey, no? I’ll try to remember that when my scheduling brain gets in a wad…just enjoy, stick your head in and lick:) I read your blog often but often get interrupted by small children before I can leave a comment. Thanks for all your fun posts!

  23. This makes me laugh. Because I have 2, when we make brownies (or something of equal bowl licking quality) I dowel out spatulas (so it’s “fair”). But MOM gets to “lick the bowl”. 😉

    Also, my big one (started 1st this week) told me she had to write her favorite thing to do at home. She wrote “laundry”. Told her she could do all of it, all the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *