I don't think there has ever been a person who can cook successfully in a postage stamp-sized kitchen with screaming babies and death-defying toddlers underfoot. The constant yells of, "Ooooohhhh I want to help cook!" lack the coordination and height to actually HELP. Usually I find myself resorting to the most brilliant and original of mom tactics, plopping the big kids in front of the TV and wearing one of the babies while hoping the other falls asleep in the swing.
Tonight, however, Elizabeth would NOT be worn. John Paul and Cecilia decided they were done watching TV and REALLY wanted to help! (Thankfully my mom was here to hold a fussy Elizabeth, otherwise it would have been leftovers for dinner)
So they helped me put away dishes, mostly successfully, but also dropping several pieces of silverware on the floor. (You have never seen me put away dishes so fast as when a not-quite-2-year-old is holding an expensive china salad bowl in each hand exclaiming, "It's heeeeeavy!")
Then they wanted to help cook. Which was really just a LOT of cutting with a very sharp knife. So I tried to come up with things with which they could help me... I sent John Paul to the basement to get me an onion, which bought me a minute. Then I sent him to peel the onion, which bought me enough time to chop the onion that I already had ready. Then I remembered how much he loves peeling garlic! We didn't need any garlic for this meal (bacon mac 'n cheese, broccoli, and smoked sausage) but do you know how long it takes a 3-year-old to peel a whole head of garlic? Long enough!
But what do I do with Cecilia, who has little patience for this type of task and keeps pulling the kitchen stool directly in front of where I need to be? I kept giving her scraps of food and saying, "Go show Grandma!!!" That only worked for so long.
I need tips! What do you do to keep the kids out of the kitchen? I'd like to involve them, but there's SO little room for any sort of actual help. I'm hoping that when we move I can just throw them all out in the backyard to stay entertained, although that isn't always a solution either...