Home > motherhood > There goes my “Mommy of the Year” award

There goes my “Mommy of the Year” award

The Child likes to help. She LOVES to help. In fact, if she’s having a cranky, tantrum-y day, the best way to derail a fit is to do something and ask her to help.

Naturally, since she’s two, her help usually means that everything I’m doing will take twice or three times as long. Especially in the kitchen. But she’s learning how to shred a braised chicken, make from-scratch waffles, make cookies, knead bread, roll out crackers. I try, very hard, to incorporate her whenever I’m cooking. 

But soup is just impossible. Most of the soups I make are just chop-n-toss. Chop things with a sharp knife and toss them into a pot that’s filled with hot olive oil or butter or bacon fat. There’s nothing for a two-year-old to do.

Which doesn’t keep her from asking — over and over and over and over — to help. 

spatulaIn a fit one day, I handed her a carrot, a cutting board, and my off-set spatula, which kinda looks like a knife, if you squint and tilt your head a little. It’s long, narrow, metal, and has a handle, any way. But it’s entirely blunt… I whacked my hand on it three times to check. But I handed it to her and said, “Go ahead and chop!”

She sat quietly while I chopped leeks and celery and carrots and potatoes and I was listening to NPR, concentrating on the news and didn’t really pay attention because she was quiet. (Rookie mistake, I know.)

Imagine my shock and chagrin (and I’ll admit, pride) when she said, “Mommy, I’m done.” And presented me with a carrot that had been turned into a close approximation of a rough chop — about 1/2 inch pieces.

Apparently, if a strong 40-lb. toddler pushes on the spatula, it will chop a carrot. 

Now, here’s where I really lose the mommy points. I’ve continued to let her chop carrots. She chopped the carrots for my soup tonight. Part of me thinks that this is a terrible idea — that it’s somehow unsafe. I don’t know how she could hurt herself, but I feel … if it can cut a carrot, can it cut my kid? 

But a larger part of me thinks… well, she’s contributing to dinner. She’s being productive and useful and she’s happy and hell, I don’t have to cut that frigging carrot. 

And a small part of me thinks it’s a terrible idea because I’m teaching her bad knife skills.

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Categories: motherhood
  1. November 22, 2008 at 5:22 am

    my kids started throwing things into soup pots at the age of 10 months. i’d hold one in my arms, had her a piece of whatever and she’d drop it in the pot. they started measuring flour and milk at 18 months. they each started cutting soft fruits or vegetables (bananas, potatoes already cut in half so no rolling around, spinach and kale) with a small knife at about 2 years. just watch her as she works. you’ll both be fine.
    (ps. my oldest is in culinary school, my 2nd born does asian cuisine, stir fry and sushi and my youngest bakes)

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