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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Posts Tagged ‘practical life’

We cook this dish every monday

Monday, November 19th, 2012 6:03 am | By Stephanie Woo

Every Monday, I cook a traditional Taiwanese dish, called 魯肉飯. It’s like spaghetti bolognese, except we use soy sauce instead of tomato sauce, shallots instead of onion and we eat it over rice instead of spaghetti. We also put hard-boiled eggs in it. Every Monday afternoon, you’ll find B and M in the kitchen helping me do the following:


After cutting off the ends of the shallot, I hand them over to M, who loves to peel pretty much anything


After she finishes peeling them, she puts them in the food processor for dicing later on


She picks up the cutting board with all the shallot skin…


and throws them in the dirty dish basket (this is where they put all their dirty dishes and food-related trash)

Later on in the afternoon, B and M help me peel the hard-boiled eggs that go into this dish


M helps me put cinnamon sticks and other spices into the pot


Time to eat dinner! It’s no accident – their favorite foods are the ones they help cook!

魯肉飯 Recipe

6 shallots – peeled and finely diced

4 shitake mushrooms – soaked and diced, separate mushroom and the mushroom water

1.5 pounds ground pork

6 hard-boiled eggs

oil for sauteeing

4 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp rice wine, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp five spice powder, 3 star anise, handful of rock sugar

Add 2 tbsp oil in wok. Add shallots and saute for 20 minutes on low heat, making sure it doesn’t brown. Remove from wok. Put mushrooms in wok with 3 tbsp of oil, sautee, then add 1 tsp salt and sautee some more. Add shallots and ground pork. Add soy sauce, rice wine and sautee till most of the pork is brown. Add 5 cups water. Add mushroom water. The water should cover the meat, if it doesn’t, add enough water till it does. Let boil. Add cinnamon, five spice powder and star anise. Turn to low heat. Cook for 40 minutes. Add hard boiled eggs and handful of rock sugar. Cook for another 30 minutes. Serve hot over rice.

Collaborating With Your Child

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 12:44 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Daddy Helps Brooke

Most adults just want to do things FOR the child. Why? It’s so much easier than teaching them to do it.

Let’s take cleaning up after meals for instance. You have two choices, you can clean the table for them, that takes about 30 seconds. OR you can have them do it. Then you have to figure out where to put the dirty dishes, how they will wipe the table, where to put the sponge, how they will clean their hands. And then once you’ve got the logistics down, you have to show them how to do it and then enforce it over and over and over and over and over…

One is clearly easier than the other. But one will make you feel like it’s Groundhog’s Day and you are playing the role of the slave, while the other gives your child the opportunity to practice motor skills, develop attention to detail, learn sequencing and give him a sense of independence that lead to happy, secure, confident children.

So you pick.

For those of you courageous and conscientious enough to take the second route, I have a piece of advice. When you are teaching your child to clean up after meals (this really applies to everything, but I’m just using this as an example), collaborate with them. Young children cannot do it all on their own all at once. They will be able to eventually, but it can be overwhelming at this age. So I’ll say, “Let’s clean up together. I’ll put the bowl and the plate  in the dishcart and you put the spoon in the dishcart.” OR “Let’s clean up together. You put this bowl (I’ll pick it up from the table) in the dishcart.” Then I’ll hand them the plate for them to put in the dishcart, the spoon, etc.  As long as they are doing something toward cleaning, that is what you’re looking for. Even if at the end, you feel you did most of the cleaning, if they participated, then you are on the right path. Gradually, over time, you can pull back and they can do more. There will be regression on bad days. If they are tired or cranky, don’t force it. Don’t punish them for not cleaning. Instead, use these words often, “Let’s do it together!” Even if you end up doing most of it that day, let it go. Tomorrow, when they are in a better place, they will do more of it.

I have a lot empathy for little ones. Transitioning from a baby in mama’s arms where everything is done to becoming your own little person – it’s a big transition. If you’re willing to collaborate with them, it’ll make their life –and yours – a little easier.

Helping Your Toddler Learn to Put On A Coat

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 4:02 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Fall is here and we’ve been digging out coats and jackets.

Last year, when I visited a Montessori classroom, I saw the teacher teach the children put their coat on this way. Out of ignorance, I thought it was a little dumb. This year, I realize it is GENIUS. Whoever came up with this method really understands the capacity of a toddler. It is impossible for them to put on their coat one arm at a time, like adults, simply because their arms are too short. But with this method, my kids were able to put on their jackets without help after just a few tries. Watch this:

 

A few keys:

  • In order to do this, the jacket has to be placed on a surface.
  • The inside of the jacket should face up. Position the jacket upside down. Tell your toddler to put the tag next to their stomach.
  • Teach them to put both arms through the hole
  • Help them throw it over their head.
  • It works and they will eventually learn to do it on their own.