Cook with your toddler, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.
1. Make yourself coffee to drink while quietly preparing dinner by yourself.
2. Discover toddler at child gate demanding to help ‘took dinner’. Think to self ‘why not?’ Instruct toddler to go and get his step from the bathroom.
3. Assess kitchen for visible hazards. Bring toddler into kitchen.
4. Watch in horror as toddler morphs into hungry, inquisitive octopus, reaching for all the things including (but not limited to) the Recently Boiled And Extremely Hot Kettle, the Equally Scalding Coffee Plunger (ooh coffee…should drink that), a pair of Ridiculously Sharp Kitchen Scissors and Knife With Enormous Blade.
5. Maintain resolve and put apron on child. Ask toddler what goes on a pizza. Assure him you will put pineapple on the pizza but it should probably come out of the tin first.
6. Smile at toddler calling pizza bases ‘pancakes’. Realise the word following pancakes is ‘hoopla’. Remember seconds too late that he learned everything he knows about pancakes from Peppa Pig (Daddy Pig flips his pancake too high, yells ‘hoopla!’ and his his pancake gets stuck to the roof).
7. Retrieve pizza bases from floor. Begin to place topping on pizzas. Idly wonder why one base has an uneven edge shaped suspiciously like a small bite.
8. Observe that there seems to be less ham on the pizzas than there was two seconds before. Give extra piece of ham to toddler.
9. Experience moment of mummy guilt when toddler calls the cheese grater a sword (note to self, must do this more often).
10. Teach toddler to grate zucchini (don’t look at me like that – I’ll get veggies in anyway I can). Silently congratulate self that all twenty fingers involved remain intact.
11. Make mental note to vacuum after another round of hoopla involving grated zucchini.
12. . Chop capsicum with toddler’s ‘help’. Realise toddler is eating capsicum faster than it can be chopped. Get second capsicum and carry on.
13. Drain tinned pineapple. Offer toddler sip of drained juice.
14. Tell yourself you didn’t actually want to drink any of that juice anyway. Start placing pineapple on pizza while methodically blocking toddler’s attempts to eat it all. Realise moments too late you’ve made it a game.
15. Decide it might be nice to have a pizza without pineapple for a change. Start covering pizza with cheese. Distract toddler with small handful of grated cheese. Make mental note to mop after more hoopla.
16. Place pizzas in oven and turn on timer. Rescue full carton of eggs from small individual raiding the fridge. Banish toddler from kitchen. Vaguely recall making coffee. Place in microwave to reheat.
17. Lean against oven while you drink coffee. Realise oven is strangely cool Discover toddler managed to drop oven temperature from 200 to 140. Rectify problem.
18. Finally serve dinner half an hour later than usual. Decide that shouldn’t be a problem as toddler should wolf down the food he helped make.
19. Imagine yourself banging head against a brick wall when toddler eyes food suspiciously and declares it to be yuck without tasting. Count minutes to bedtime.