Now that Owen has reached that independent-yet-more-dependent-than-ever phase (where even though he’s starting to walk and be generally more self-sufficient he’s more attached than ever to the idea of being right by my side) making dinner with him in the vicinity is growing more difficult by the day. I stand at the counter dicing an onion; he stands tugging at my legs whining desperately for some face-to-face attention. Maybe he wants to chop onions too.
So Will and I have begun adopting a dinner preparation ritual during Owen’s naptime. On at least a few afternoons a week, we wind up cooking dinner ahead while Owen catches his afternoon snooze. I love these times with Will, both of us working over dinner together. And he’s growing increasingly adept at tasks that you’d think would be frustrating. Chopping carrots with a dull table knife, for example. He loves to stir a sauté, add any measured item into a bowl, peel carrots and potatoes, and stir ingredients together. He also tends to anticipate dinner with great enthusiasm when he's involved in the preparation. As in “this is going to be the best soup EVER.” And he is generally excited to eat the food he’s helped cook. The other day I said to him as I was noticing how much he was enjoying himself with his inadequate knife at the cutting board, “Maybe you’ll be a chef when you grow up.”
“No,” he said decidedly. “I’m going to be a trash man.”
In the meantime though, it’s nice to have an apprentice cook (even if I am a very mediocre mentor).