Ever since Toby learned how to climb onto a chair last summer, cooking has been an especially difficult task with him around. This is unfortunate, because, ever since two girls were diagnosed with Celiac disease last fall, I have had to do an excessive amount of cooking, and Toby is always around.
He pulls a chair over right next to where I am working, or perhaps on top of where I am working, climbs aboard and begins to frantically touch, grab, wield, and fling any ingredient, cooking utensil, or breakable object, that he can get his little fingers onto. Quite often this ends with him strapped into his booster seat in the middle of a wide-open space where he can reach nothing. But lately I have been feeling guilty about this. Shouldn't I be fostering my son's curiosity and encouraging his God-given need to explore and learn?
I tried to foster and encourage today as I was making dinner. If you had been a fly on the wall today this is a transcript of what you would have heard coming out of my mouth as I attempted to prepare gluten-free biscuits and sausage gravy from scratch with the help of my newly two-year old son. (Really, I kept I running log, so rest assured there is no poetic license here.)
-"No, Toby, that's my spoon."
-"Yes, it will burn."
-"Give me that!"
-"OK, Toby, put the screwdriver down."
-"Honey, that's where I need to stand, so you can't put your chair there."
-"Hands off the dishwasher, Toby. No buttons!"
-"If you put your blankie on the stove it will catch on fire."
-"Yes, it will burn."
-"Leave the drawers closed, Buddy."
-"What are you doing in the cupboards?"
-"Give the shortening to Mommy."
-"No, you can't eat it."
-"Yes, you're all done with it."
-"What in the world did you do to it?"
-"Whoa there, no scissors."
-"No, you can't go down in the basement...and I don't care how much you bang on the door."
-"Here, sit down and have a snack."
-"No, get out of the fridge!"
-"That measuring cup is glass and it will break, give it to Mommy...Toby!"
-"Toby, climb down from the back of Emma's booster seat, you're going to fall right through the window."
-"You are going to spill the rice milk, put it down!"
-"Will you stop touching everything?!"
-"OK, the Worchershire sauce bottle is glass too, put it down."
-"Naomi, can you strap your brother into the stroller and wheel him around the house? Otherwise we're never going to have dinner."
-"Thank you, you're an angel."
-"Here, let me help you buckle him in."
I've decided to foster his love of being strapped into moving objects while I am cooking from now on. His love of handling sharp, hot, and fragile items while running and climbing will have to wait to be fostered until further notice.