Chicken teriyaki fried rice is an easy, easy dish to make. Put rice, frozen veggies, and chicken into a pot. Season with teriyaki sauce. Stir. Heat until hot. Eat. Easy Peasy. So, when Hannah asked to help, I was at a loss. “Um, sure — I’ll go sit down. You can make dinner.” What on earth could I have her do?
Let me sum up: Hannah. Kindergarten. Picture a pin-ball machine played by someone who really knows how to keep that ball moving. Now imaging that person playing with ten balls. Now put all those balls inside Hannah and watch her bounce.
Ah-ha! Pinball! Hannah, please bring me some frozen vegetables. Find a large spoon. Find a small spoon. Find a utensil that is not a spoon. Get a bowl and two eggs. It worked perfectly. Around the room. Back and forth. Up and down.
Then I ran out of things I needed her to bring to me.
But, pouring vegetables into a bowl is not so messy. Oh, no there goes the corn! (Just kidding. She did very well). “I like cracking eggs!” With much trepidation and a great deal of looking the other way, I let her crack eggs into a bowl. Whew. That went much better than I imagined.
“Please throw away the eggshells.”
“Okay.” But not before crumbing them into little pieces into the trash can.
I wanted to get after her, but she did so well up until now not messing around. We did, however, have a discussion on the importance of washing her hands after handling raw eggs. Or rubbing raw egg all over her hands like lotion. Or whatever.
She helped pour and scrape and stir. She only once fell off the step ladder with a heart-stopping crash. She was fine. I, on the other hand, had to be brought back with electric shock.
Then it was time to add the rice. I had cooked the rice earlier in a crock pot, as my rice cooker is in storage at the moment. When it was time to transfer the rice into the pot of chicken and veggies, I asked Hannah to go find a spoon. “The biggest one you can find.”
She looked in the drawer and picked up the small wooden spoon laying next to the gigantic ladle. “How about this?”
“How about something bigger?”
“Is this a spoon?”
“It’s a melon baller.”
“Oh.” Then she looked at the ladle, which I had thought looks like a big spoon, and discarded it for a different wooden spoon. A different wooden spoon which happened to be resting on top of a giant black plastic serving spoon. “This one? I want to use a wood spoon.”
I happen to love wooden spoons, and had I a bamboo rice scoop, it would have been what I sent her after. As it is, we were short a rice scoop of any material, let alone wood.
It took several tries, but we finally agreed on the ladle. And then the fun began. I had her grab the bigger utensil because I knew anything smaller would result in massive amounts of sticky rice falling all over the floor. With the ladle, we had small amounts of sticky rice falling all over the floor. My rules for myself were such that I promised myself I would not help her unless she was in danger, the dinner was in danger, or she asked for help. A little rice on the floor did not fall into these categories.
It did, though, fall into the category of “Ewww, I just stepped in something cold, squishy, and sticky. I guess it’s a good thing I am wearing socks.”
And sticky it was. Hannah frequently had rice stuck to her fingers as she worked. “I got rice on my finger. Can I eat it?”
“Oh, no. I have rice on my fingers again. Can I eat it?”
“Six cups of rice seem to have fallen into my hand, can I eat it?”
We finally got it all together, and stirred. Five-year-old energy was successfully harnessed into a rice and vegetables. She was so proud. It was a fun night, really. The other kids all ate seconds, and but for the rice, nothing major was spilled.
Now, though, if you will excuse me, I have to change my socks.
Now you know why socks are more indoors in many Asian homes