Little by little, we make progress. Scrambling eggs was not easy at first, but we’ve figured out the proper wrist movement, and now, instead of stirring the eggs, we actually scramble them in the bowl. No more back and forth, or side to side moving the fork…nope…we now flick our wrist in a circular motion, breaking up yolks and perfectly blending with the whites…bubbles form, my friends…
We no longer blitz the eggs in an overheated pan. We no longer throw the butter in and don’t let it melt. We are cooking…wait for it…at medium-low heat, and gently stirring the eggs so they cook slowly, gently.
We’ve come a long way, baby.
There was a time, as you might remember, when breakfast was a package of ramen noodle, drained of the broth, eaten without cooling and in less than 15 seconds. Inhaled noodles, we called them.
Everything J ate, in fact, was basically inhaled. No savoring. No enjoying. No taking his time. Nope. He would just sit in front of his food and it would disappear in seconds. No joy there. Just sustenance of the least savory, healthy kind.
Now we look through the Menu Binder and we choose our breakfast. Pictures guide us through the process of making sweet potato pancakes, breakfast burritos and quesadillas with things like spinach, mushrooms, sliced chicken. We no longer need a panini press to make a grilled breakfast sandwich…we can now grill it on the crepe pan. WITHOUT BURNING IT!
We inch forward. We learn something new, and keep at it until I can just be an observer, or -better yet- an assistant. There is joy in being shown the ham and being asked to slice it, rather than having to point J in the right direction. From being taught, he is now showing he has learned what to do, and he just needs help because of the timing of the whole thing. Timing is the hardest thing to master. I have, after over thirty years of cooking for others in the small scale of a home kitchen, found myself running around trying to make sure all the food is at the right temperature at the same time. So J is definitely making great strides towards feeding himself and helping me feed us.
The prospect of assisting with meals is exciting to J. The prospect of setting the table because dinner is just around the corner makes him happy. Emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, choosing what he wants at the grocery store. Hesitation is at a minimum level these days, and it is so nice! I can tell him to go get his popcorn, or his chips, or to find three onions, and J walks away and does it. I can see him. I am close enough to assist him if he gets overwhelmed, but he feels confident enough to take over those tasks. Never mind that he follows me closely at home because one morning he woke up and found the sitter here. I mean “at home” to him. I get that, but I also am someone who works side-by-side with him. That’s kinda cool, isn’t it?
What is best about all this is that now I can say “hey, get your breakfast going” while I’m getting other things done in the vicinity. By the same token, I can now issue instructions without having to repeat, or oversimplify. J is now totally fine with “would you please take the trash from the kitchen to the garage, and bring a new bag to put in the bin?” He gets all that (because he stops to actually listen,) and there’s no need to follow him, use hand gestures, or worry that he will forget any of what he’s been asked to do. I can send him off to gather trash from the small bins, and he will do it without me having to help him, AND he will replace the small bags we save from the grocery store to line the bins.
J is more independent. J is more able to participate in the life of our household as a self-starter. The other day he gathered the laundry without a word of guidance from me. I can say “it’s time to clean bathrooms,” and he takes over cleaning his own. Just like that…
It’s pretty cool.
I like it. He likes it. It’s good for us. I think it’ll be for lunch and dinner, too.