In addition to his love for "art," Colin has developed a love for cooking lately that warms his mama's heart. So now, once or twice a week, Colin proclaims it time to "Do Cooking!" and we break out my mixer and get to work.
I was a little reluctant at first to let a two-year-old participate in what can be a messy, and sometimes dangerous, endeavour, but so far he has been very good at following the rules: no touching the spinning paddle and only one cup of flour at a time. (In fact, I've developed this nifty little trick of restricting Colin to the quarter cup, even if the recipe calls for a whole cup or a tablespoon. The quarter cup is just the right size for his little hands, and, if it takes four times as long to add the flour, he's happy with that. Besides, he calls it the "baby cup," which I think is charming.)
The only drawback is that we've been eating a lot of home-baked goods, although I suppose that isn't really much of a drawback, is it? Lately, the frequency of our little cooking sessions means that we haven't eaten store-bought bread in months--and I'm not sure I can go back. The other downside is that Colin often wants to "do cooking" when I have real cooking to do--cooking he can't participate in that involves chopping vegetables and heating oil. And with a new baby soon to arrive, I've got a tall order of meals I want to cook and freeze for those first few weeks. Fortunately, Colin received his own play kitchen for his birthday, which now sits in the dining room just outside our kitchen. So when I need Colin out of the room so I can sauté vegetables or boil a chicken, I just send him to his own kitchen and ask him to do the same.
Of course, Colin is no short-order cook,so this doesn't always work. Half the time he uses his kitchen as loading zone for his cars and trucks, but who cares? As long as it buys me a little time...