Friday, February 29, 2008

Little helper

Tonight Thomas helped make dinner for the first time. Back in December, he and I made gingerbread cookies, but he "helped" by stirring powdered sugar in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon and then smashing the rolled-out dough with his fingertips. It was fun, but he didn't understand the process.

Tonight, he got to make pizza! Granted, it wasn't totally from scratch. We bought a ready pizza crust and I made the olive oil and garlic sauce and spread it on. Matt and I chopped the toppings -- but Thomas got to add them himself. He sprinkled the mushrooms first, then the broccoli, then the artichoke hearts, and finally the feta cheese (this is a favorite pizza combination for me that's very, very hard to order). After a minute, he even got the idea that we wanted it to be spread evenly, and we ended up with a pizza just piled with yummy things. It was beautiful and overloaded, and I was so hungry by the time it was done that I forgot to take a picture of it for this post.

Thomas has been eating better lately if we make food at home. He likes to watch the process of cooking and know what's going in the pot (or the oven). I think the smell gets his appetite up too, as he keeps running over and pointing and smacking his lips while everything cooks. Today we turned on the oven light so he could check on the pizza and watch the top beginning to brown. He ate a little of everything, and a lot of crust, feta, and broccoli, but he didn't really care for artichoke hearts. Such a disappointment -- they're one of my favorite vegetables.

This is a good start towards Thomas being as much of a chef as Barnacle Boy. I love it.

Teaching glee

I was pleased with my students' performance on my first-ever midterm exam, but grading the essays has been tedious, a tedium that occasionally falls into frustration at hitherto-unsuspected misunderstandings of key material.

The high points, though, are astonishingly high. After grading a few in a row of "good essay, but it could be better" (I mentally categorize before I think about point values), I hit an essay where every line was clearly revealing the student's excellent understanding of the topic and its connection to the course. I found myself muttering, "Yes, yes... YES!" and I wanted to send a personal email thanking the student for studying so hard. (Of course I won't.)

I can't decide if this is teaching or if I'm nuts.