I think I possibly killed my 13-year old son's dream of being a chef.
Inadvertently, of course. I'm not a total a-hole.
But obviously, I am my own breed of jack wagon because the dream he's had since he was four, is now waning.
When this kid was pint-sized I couldn't get him to watch cartoons. (Oh stuff it, like you didn't relish in your child's half hour infatuation with Dora the Explorer, or Sesame Street, or whatever the hell they watched. Admit it, you were glad they were into it. Ooooh the things you did in that half hour! Am I right?) Well my youngest wanted no part of it. Any of them. Not the shows his brothers were into. Not the cartoons his brothers weren't into. He had zero interest in anything on TV. (Dammit.) Until... one fateful day when I had the little television set on in the kitchen, tuned to Food Network like it always was, and he walked in and promptly fell in love with Giada De Laurentis.
God bless America but my son suddenly had a show he liked. AND LO AND FREAKING BEHOLD IT WAS ONE THAT I LIKED TOO! I didn't have to listen to 30 minutes of Dora asking me questions and staring at me creepily. If he was sick, I didn't have to torture my senses with a full half hour of Blues Clues while we snuggled and waited for the medicine to kick in. I GOT TO WATCH FOOD NETWORK WITH MY KID! (Take that Mom who scoffed at me earlier!)
And from this love, he decided he wanted to be a chef.
Does life get any better? I get to watch Food Network and I'm raising the next Bobby Flay! Jesus is kind and merciful and don't you all forget it!
Except.... then you add into the equation that this kid's mother is an A-1 piece of crap and things. spiral. downward.
Here's the reality, I'm a kitchen control freak. I love my kitchen. I love all kitchens. Show me a kitchen and I will take it over. I'm sorry, but I will. I can reach a very high level of irritation in a matter of moments when I offer someone help in the kitchen and they politely tell me no and then serve me food that I could have made better.
SOMEONE PUNCH MY THROAT PLEASE SO I DON'T HAVE TO EAT THIS SUBPAR FOOD.
This happens at restaurants too. Lord help us all if I am served food that I could have made better at home. I will bitch a blue streak on the way home. (Not in the restaurant, I'm not a total jackass!)
And it is this - this overwhelming fixation, need, passion, type-A-control-freakism (call it what you will) that I think, is killing my son's desire to be a chef.
I have tried to let him in the kitchen. Let him help me, given him simple recipes and let him work through them (I mean, I stand seven feet away and grind my teeth to dust,) taught him how to plate things and measure flour properly and separate an egg but each and every time he's in the kitchen with me I. lose. my. mind.
I turn around as he's mashing avocados to find avocado chunks on the floor and POOF - gone. I lose my mind.
I give him the hand-held mixer to mix up the wet ingredients as I slowly add in the flour. WHOOSH - flour city all over the counter and floor and then POOF - there goes my sanity.
And I think, every time I lose it, he loses a little piece of wanting to be in the kitchen.
So, I'm trying. I am giving it my all to give him tasks and then step out of the county while he completes them. I am giving it a good ol' college try to not micromanage every time he browns meat or measures brown sugar.
I really and truly am.
Because when I micromanage him - we argue.
Sadly, for a 13-year old, he's a fairly good arguer.
Which is super annoying because his brothers think he should kick the chef dream to the curb and become a lawyer.
And no mother wants that, right? A kid who lies for a living??
I'd rather share my kitchen.