Ah, when I see photos like this, they bring back such happy memories. They also occasionally make me feel like a bad Mom! What was I thinking – allowing my baby boy, then aged about fifteen months, now twenty-four years old, to stand on a chair, washing dishes at the kitchen sink. But he never fell, and he loved the time he spent at that sink – playing with bubbles, pouring, rinsing. With help, he was already participating in the daily life and chores of the family. My daughter Anna was even younger when she loved to help make soup. She would sit on the counter and transfer the vegetables I chopped – onions, carrots, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, zucchini, celery – into the big soup pot.
This photo was taken in our family home in Arlington, Texas. The home had a large kitchen, connected directly to the den. This was a favorite hangout of all of the neighborhood kids. They loved to come to help cook and bake. We made individual pizzas, peeled and sliced carrots, and baked bread and cookies together. Another favorite activity was to play laundry. I would set up a few bowls for washing and rinsing dolls’ clothing, and a clothes horse out in the yard for drying the clothes. After the laundry sessions, we would wash and dry the floor of the den. Thank goodness it was linoleum. On good weather days (frequent in Texas), the whole laundry was set up out of doors.
You know how when you have a party, it’s hard to get people out of the kitchen? There’s a reason for that. The kitchen is the heart of a home. Invite your children to spend time with you in the kitchen, on worthwhile chores. That will make good memories for you for the future. Even now, when my grown up children return home for a visit, we spend a lot of time shopping, chopping, cooking and eating together. The kitchen and practical life are still at the heart of the family!