Sunday, May 17, 2015

Parent Hacks

Parenting hack: do stuff with your kids.

Actually, that's not really the hack. Here's the hack: you don't need to be crazy about it or anything - stuff you were already going to do in the first place works just fine. It'll take way longer and you'll need a glass of wine to cope with it the first couple dozen times, but eventually your efforts will pay off.

Oh, I guess that's my second hack for you today: wine. Lots of it.

I find cooking and baking are some things that are good to do. (You needed brownies, right?) My hope and expectation has always been that, eventually, the kids would gain some basic safety, common-sense and, heck, maybe even cooking skills. Maybe they could get themselves breakfast one day... pack a lunch without help... cook a meal for the family once in a while... not die of malnourishment in college. Y'know, the basics. I had a long game to meditate on when they were splashing pancake batter all over the damn place as toddlers.

Interestingly, I've noticed over the years that there are a ton of knock-on educational benefits associated with cooking that I had never even considered in my long game:

There's literacy: because "cookies" is an excellent motivator for sounding out that tricky word in the recipe, as is learning the deceptively big difference between cinnamon and cayenne.
Chemistry: proteins denature, carbon dioxide bubbles form, what the heck is Teflon anyway?
Math: fractions, measurements, conversions, ratios
Physics: phase changes, conduction, convection, surface tension, gelling
Biology: bacteria/safe food handling, nutrition, yeast, PMS

Yup, even PMS: the fact that we had chocolate-chip pancakes for supper once a month growing up was how my brother learned about the menstrual cycle. Kudos to him for noticing there was a pancake cycle; I filled him in on the back story. I'm certain he will make some lucky gal a fine husband one day - he learned early on to be very supportive of any female initiatives involving chocolate.

Final hack for the day: HERE is the easiest, kid-helper-friendliest, PMS-iest recipe I have on file.

Just think of how educated your child will be after helping you make these once a month for their entire childhood. You are an excellent parent. Go ahead, have some wine.

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