Parenting

Excerpts From a Cookbook Written by My Toddler

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Dear Fellow Toddlers,

Thank you for purchasing this book. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot more about doing things all by myself. My mommy changes my diapers, cleans up my toys, takes me to fun places like the playground and Target, and generally cares for all my basic needs. But I’m a toddler now and I think it’s time to take control of my life. I’ve been experimenting by putting on my own shoes, but Mommy always says they’re on the wrong feet. They’re my shoes and they’re on my feet so I don’t really know what she means. Anyway, it seems like there are lots of things I still can’t do on my own. But there is one area that I, and all of us, definitely can take control of: cooking.  I mean, let’s face it, Mommy’s meals tend to be pretty boring. We can definitely do better. So, follow my simple recipes and, before long, your mommy is sure to trust you enough to let you take over in the kitchen.

Peanut butter and Jelly and Banana and Cheese Stick and Crackers

Note: These ingredients can be substituted for others if you don’t have them all available. Really any kind of sandwich will do, but PB and J provides the stickiest fun.

Step one: Open the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and lay each piece of bread flat on your highchair tray. It doesn’t matter which way up the bread is facing.

Step two: Mush up the banana with your hand until it resembles cat vomit. The gagging noise you hear is just Mommy. Ignore her, she’s fine.

Step three: Rub the slices of bread in the mushed up banana until they are coated. (At this point Mommy will probably be sticking her head into the garbage can for some reason.  She’s so weird. If she’s telling you to stop mushing up your banana, ignore her.)

Step four: Bite off a piece of your cheese stick and chew it up but don’t swallow it. Spit it out onto the bread.

Step five: Grab a fistful of crackers and squeeze.  Some of the cracker crumbs will fly out of your hand and land in the far reaches of the kitchen.  Ignore those. Place whatever’s left on top of the cheese.

Step six: Put one piece of bread on top of the other.  (Keep ignoring Mommy.)

Step seven:  Take a bite. (Keep ignoring Mommy.)

Step eight: Throw the rest of the sandwich on the floor.

Step nine: Look at Mommy, point at the mess you made and yell “Clean!” Since you’ve taken control of the cooking so expertly, this allows Mommy to have something to do. And we know how much she loves cleaning!

Next up: Applesauce Pizza!

Applesauce Pizza

Note: This recipe is best attempted when Mommy has had it “up to here.” (I don’t really know where “here” is, but whenever she gets there, that’s a good time to try this out.)  Also, in order for this recipe to work, you have to already be having pizza for dinner.

Step one: Ask for some apple sauce.

Step two: Wait until Mommy has opened the applesauce container and is trying to feed you some on a spoon.

Step three: Time to take charge. Alert Mommy to your intentions by screaming, “No!” really suddenly and flinging the spoon away from you so that it flies out of Mommy’s hand and sprays applesauce all over the wall before landing on the floor.

Step four: Instruct Mommy on what to do next by yelling “Hold!” while pointing at the applesauce container until she gives it to you.  (This may take a while.  First she might calmly get out another spoon and try to feed you the applesauce again. If this happens, repeat step three. Then she might tell you, “No, you can’t hold this because you’ll just dump it all over the place.” Don’t give up! Ignore her and continue yelling. Eventually she will give you the container.)

Step five: Dump most of the contents of the container all over your highchair tray and your bib. It’s best if you also smear some in your hair and flick some off your fingers onto the floor and walls. Be sure to watch Mommy’s face while you’re doing this. She’s always good for a laugh. Hold onto the container.

Step six: Rip small pieces off your slice of pizza and insert them into the applesauce cup. Smush them around in there until they’re really covered in the remaining applesauce.

Step seven: Don’t eat anything.

Next: Everyone’s favorite…Cheerios a la Dirt

Cheerios a la Dirt

You will need: One snack cup filled with Cheerios.

Step one: Wait until Mommy hands you your snack cup.  If it’s not happening and you want it now, just start yelling and stomping your feet.  It doesn’t really matter what you yell, she’ll give you the snack cup eventually.

Step two: Eat a few Cheerios normally so that Mommy lets her guard down.

Step three: When Mommy looks away, shake the cup up and down really hard so that Cheerios fly out of it all over the place.  Make sure some fall in the dirt.  It’s best to do this while you are outside and there’s a lot of dirt (or sand) but, in a pinch, you could go for a potted plant or just a particularly dusty corner.

Step four: Quickly pick up a few Cheerios, mushing them around in the dirt a little bit first so they are nicely coated.

Step five: Wait until Mommy notices what you are doing and starts to rush over.  Look at Mommy go!  She’s having so much fun.

Step six: Wait until Mommy is really, really close to you but not close enough to touch you.

Step seven: Eat the Cheerios.  (Mommy will probably start yelling and reaching into your mouth to see if she can pull the Cheerios out.  Swallow quickly and then shake your head back and forth really fast so she has to give up.)

Step eight:  Stare at Mommy.

Step nine: Smile.

So, Fellow Toddlers, after trying these recipes (and others like them in my book) in quick succession, I can almost guarantee your mommy will step back and let you rule the kitchen.  My mommy, for example, sat on the couch staring into space clutching a cup of coffee and muttering under her breath for an hour, leaving me to fend for myself in the kitchen.  This allowed me to whip up a batch of oatmeal raisin lint balls and call it a night.  And who said we couldn’t do it all on our own?!