I don't know about you, but for me, cooking is therapeutic. It becomes a challenge only when my toddler never stop shadowing all the time. I somehow managed to become a kitchen ninja with a baby below eye level, I must keep an excellent reflex and be extra cautious in the kitchen to avoid tripping with knife in my hand.
Sometimes I lose my grip. It could be frustrating that my baby is always in my way. It is impossible to finish dinner on time. and that just freaks me out! She wont leave me alone even when I put the cartoons or puppet shows and her toys laying everywhere. She is always in the kitchen when I am in the kitchen. Until one time, I decided to stop and observe.
I knelt down to look at her eyes. She looked back at me with a sly smile, then walked towards me and gave me a hug. Then I understood this is the age for milestones of learning and discovery. She opens and closes the kitchen cabinets not to annoy me, but because she saw me doing so. On that moment I reminded myself, I'm not only his mother,but I am also her first teacher. I took her in my arms and showed what was in the mixer and how it works.
I held her hand as we both pressed the pulse button of the food processor.
I showed what was cooking on the stove and said we don't touch it. It's hot.
I opened the dishwasher and let her pick up a couple of spoons with her tiny hands and showed where to put them away.
Then I sat with her as we watched the chicken tenderloins cook to golden brown. I watched her. There I saw so much curiosity and questions in her eyes, but I know she was learning on her own and I was there to supervise making sure she was safe in the process of consuming such discoveries.
I do not expect my daughter to work in the kitchen. She is going to pick the destiny of her own. I was only there to teach the best of my knowledge.
However, this simple act is a small process of building a relationship with her. There will always be dirty dishes, dirty kitchen, clutter in the living room because this a house and we live in it! But i will take every chance to let her know I will always be there every step of her way. It starts by letting her take part of what I do.