It never ceases to amaze me, you know, how children’s minds work. Always in the moment, yet so quick to remember the past. Here I am, reaching into the stove bare handed, knowing that the tray hasn’t been in the stove long enough to send me screaming into the bathroom in a desperate attempt to find cold water, hand held aloft as if I was carrying the Olympic torch.
J’s high pitched voice cuts through the whirring dizziness of getting the dogs fed while simultaneously cooking breakfast and getting in moms way. “Daddy don’t touch or you will get a burn.” says my two year old, proudly lifting her sleeve to present her battle scar, earned in a close encounter with a hot frying pan as she was helping mom in the kitchen, reminding me of the inherent dangers of fending off starvation. She’s totally unaware that the tray just went into the oven 3 seconds ago and I’m adjusting it because there’s 3 inches of space on one side and 5 on the other, and not quite far enough towards the back of the stove to quell my irrational compulsion to have cooking pans completely centered. Her limited life experience tells her only one thing. Things that go into stoves become hot. Apparently I have forgotten this rule and had to be reminded.
I’ve been told multiple times a two year old has no place in the kitchen. “You let her near a hot stove? Are you crazy?” (Or maybe they are saying that about me?) Anyway, these people obviously don’t watch Master Chef Junior. J has an early passion for food and cooking. Why let it go to waste? Okay, letting her man the stove is a little much (but it does make a good photo op). There’s no harm in mixing greens though, or giving her pre-measured amounts of seasoning add to a dish. If you think about it, she’s building fine motor skill and color recognition simply by handling vegetables.
We’ve had accidents, of course. Sometimes little hands and arms get too close to hot things. Lesson Learned: Hot things = ouch. There’s some wailing and crying and salve application and now she wants the salve all over her body and not just the booboo and “OKAY ENOUGH WITH THE SALVE IT’S IN THE EGGS NOW.” There have been nicks and scratches, and I think we have more band-aids in the kitchen than we do the first aid kit, but it makes complete sense that she doesn’t think her play kitchen is nearly as fun, and as long as there are no fingers in the salad I think that’s just fine.