It is surprising how helpful a 3-year-old can be in the kitchen. Luke has been slicing vegetables for about a year. Last month, I upgraded him from a pumpkin knife to a real serrated utility knife. Cutting green beans is his favorite, but he will absolutely jump at the chance to chop anything.
Tomatoes are hard for him to slice, but cucumbers are okay. It’s been a learning process for both of us. His hands are small and his fine motor skills are age-appropriate (meaning not great for knife-duty). I give him a new item to chop, and then hover anxiously, watching for nipped fingers. He’s always so engrossed, that he doesn’t notice how freaked out I am about the whole thing.
In a completely thoughtless moment today, I decided that Ben was old enough to start cutting as well. I told the boys that they could cut up some mushrooms. I was adding them to the crock pot, so the state of the shroom didn’t matter one way or the other. They like helping, so it was a good opportunity to ruin something without ruining anything.
Luke got his serrated knife, and Ben got a pumpkin knife.
Ben tried. He really, really tried. He asked for help. I helped. I hovered.
Luke was a little pro. Slice off one end. Lay the flat side on the board, and slice again. Two satisfying cuts, and the mushroom was history.
Without help, all Ben managed was to give his mushroom a good stab. He couldn’t even get the mushroom off the knife after that. Good heavens.
I backtracked, and showed him instead how to detach the stem from the cap using his hands. Even that was a bit rough for him.
They proudly completed their task of chopping mushrooms, happy to have aided in the dinner preparation.
I was happy to get them out of the kitchen. A 3-year-old, providing chopping aid? Surprisingly decent.
A 1-year-old, slicing and dicing? Not surprisingly, not so decent.