I decided to make tomato soup again for lunch. The kids wanted to help. Of course.
We all sat around the kitchen table. The boy put the onion skins in the compost bowl and the girl put the cut red onion pieces in her bowl. Until her finger started to sting and her eyes watered. Then she sat with her finger in a cup of water while she complained at length that I wouldn't let her add the onions to the pot on the stove. The boy put his finger in a cup of water in solidarity.
The soup cooked on the stove while the kids helped me make homemade fries. I cut the potatoes and they put them in their bowls. There was much stirring. With whisks.
Abandoning their posts as sou-chefs, the kids sat on the couch in the sunroom reading books while I blended the soup and poured it out into three bowls to cool. Two ladles full of soup for the kids. Three for me.
The girl ate half of the soup in her bowl. He brother sat beside her gobbling the warm fries. Slow down I said to him. Finish one before you eat another. Recognizing the wisdom of my words the boy bent over his plate and pushed three half-crewed fries out of his mouth with a flick of his tongue. Then he picked up a fresh fry, dragged it through the puddle of ketchup on his plate and jammed it into his mouth.
I scrapped the half soup/ half crouton mixture from the boy's bowl into my own. I added the girl's lukewarm leftovers and stirred it all together. The girl sat across from me writing out TOMATO on her magnetic drawing tablet. Through the open doorway I caught a glimpse of a naked meowing boy crawling down the hallway towards the kitchen.
Returning to the dining room the boy meowed pitifully at his sister from under the table until she reached down and fed him a fry. Satisfied, he meowed in thanks and continued on his way.