Preparing breakfast used to be quite stressful. Hadassah was always hungry and ready to eat (even after just nursing!) and would come find me and pull at my clothes, wanting whatever I was making or at least to be held so she could watch. So, I decided to involve her. At first, I just held her while she watched, and let her press the button on the water boiler, but lately I'm realizing she can do more and more...
Toddlers are fascinated with pouring things out, and she's no different. So, I put that to good use in measuring ingredients :)
If I'm stirring something, she wants to too! Just takes some mommy guidance or we have flour all over the floor. But, cooking with toddlers always leaves a mess no matter how hard you try, so you just have to accept it as part of it. ;)
In the spirit of honesty, this happens more than once with each cooking session. She often ends up stuffing some of it in her mouth, covering her face with flour. And it hardly ever bothers her as she goes back for more (yuck!). The other day a chunk of sugar fell on the counter as I was measuring and quick as a whip, she stuck it in her mouth (oops!) so I'm sure that doesn't help!
But, though sometimes after too many grabs I just put her down so I can finish in peace, I like the training opportunities cooking provides. Teaching her when it's okay to touch and taste, and when mommy says "do not touch" or "do not eat" that it's off limits. We're still working on it. ;)
Trained by my mom to have vitamin C each day, I'm passing it on to my daughter. She loves to throw things away, so I'm giving her opportunity with things that are meant to be thrown away. Though, more often than not she'll try to sample the peels along the way - another thing we're working on!
Though cooking with Hadassah does make it a little slower, I love that I'm combining something that needs to be done with time with her. The fact that it's instilling in her an enjoyment of work is also such a great thing. And when I catch site of her face of wonder as she helps, it fills me with such joy... I love my little cooking companion!
She's also HUGELY motivated by praise. Recently she's started finding Daddy when she has the orange peels, watching him closely as she puts it in, to see him cheer. It lights her up. :)
And last but not least, egg cracking. :) She LOVES it! Anytime she sees an egg, she says "crack crack crack" and reaches for it. She's gotten pretty good too, often cracking them just enough for me to break open and dump in, though we end up with a puddle on the counter sometimes. I'm amazed at how young little ones can understand and do things!