"I don't want to cut this."
So said Big Sister, who had been helping me prepare ingredients for lunch.
"I will cry. It's yucky. Remember?" She replied as she prodded the offensive onion in disdain.
Indeed, the previous experience of having peeled, cut then diced an onion had brought tears to her eyes. Tears of pain, then tears of anger. She would stay far away from an onion since that cooking experience.
Just a few days earlier, Big Sister and I went to her regular art class by bus. The weather however, was not regular for her. It was storming intensely and some of the paths were flooded. I briefed her about wearing her raincoat, how we would walk to the bus stop, and that we would wipe our feet dry upon reaching the classroom. She had travelled in storms before, but mostly sheltered. It occurred to me it was the first time she had to walk directly in the intense rain.
She shrieked when she saw the muddy path, with a fast flowing stream of water.
She repeatedly remarked, "Mummy my feet are wet."
She hollered at a car which splashed rain our way when we were waiting at the bus stop, despite not being hit directly by the wave.
When she reached the classroom, we dried our feet while she chanted, "Bad weather, bad weather!" It was much to the amusement of her art teachers.
Did the onion sting her eyes? Yes. Was it a bad experience? Maybe. She learned it was not easy to cook a meal.
Walking through the storm was not pleasant for her. But she came to understand the weather and was able to relate it to Grandma later in the evening. She also knew that it was important to be prepared for storms.
As much as she did not like these experiences, she came to know the feeling of crying over onions, and the cold wind on her cheeks. Then we, as parents and educators, would help the child with the words and visuals needed to convey the experience.
Simple, everyday experiences. How valuable.
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