Lately, JR and M have really started increasing in their independence around here.  They do a pretty decent job on their chores, they often ask to do new things, and occasionally they voluntarily just take over some of my normal responsibilities.

Recently, JR has taken great pride in serving all the kids breakfast.  S makes porridge before he leaves for work, so when JR gets up, he likes to carefully position the pot of porridge and everyone’s bowls carefully and neatly around the kitchen floor, and serve it all up.  Then, he adds the maple syrup accordingly, and serves everyone.  He does make the occasional mess, but he is now cleaning it up with no prompting, so I don’t mind one bit!   The other day, I was preparing to go grocery shopping, and he asked if I could get ingredients for him to bake something.  I gave him my recipe book, and he looked through the dessert section to find the perfect recipe.  He found one for cookies, I ensured we had the ingredients, and the next day, he set to work.  With very little intervention from me (just occasional help with reading labels and measuring, he mixed everything, ran the mixer, sprayed the cookie sheet, and dropped the cookies.

Can you tell how hard he's concentrating?!

While the cookies baked, he finished up his school work, then he set to work icing them.

The recipe was supposed to be for "black and whites," essentially sugar cookies with half white frosting and half chocolate frosting. Unfortunately, the white frosting required corn syrup, which I won't use. I tried to mix something else up, but it didn't work. So, JR creatively decided to sprinkle coconut on the chocolate frosting to get the white part of it!

He was so proud to have accomplished his first big baking project almost entirely by himself. 

This morning, the older kids told me they wanted to dress their little brothers.  I gave them permission, and they disappeared downstairs for a period of time.  When they finally returned, this is what I found:

So, at first glance, it appears as though JR and M did a pretty good job dressing N and A.  JR, in fact, did fine on A, dressing him in underwear and a black fleece sweat-suit type outfit.  M, bless her heart, has always had her own fashion sense.  N’s underwear is on backwards, he is wearing a red fleece sweat-suit type shirt, his Sunday khaki’s, his Sunday sweater vest, very colorful yellow, green, blue, and white socks, and one shoe.  I also noticed he smells funny, which I can’t quite figure out.  After I took the picture, M completed the job by taking him into the bathroom for about 5 minutes, washing his face (which is always a mess!  Everything shows up on his skin!) and brushing his hair.  Fortunately, N is totally cooperative and loves attention from M, so it works. 

If I can slip in a little guidance with all this help, I think life might be quite a bit easier when this new baby arrives than with previous babies!  These little helpers could come in really handy!