Making bread

Dear Katja,

You have gotten pretty good at sitting up. This morning I decided to make bread, so I got all of the ingredients together and sat you up on the counter so you could see what I was doing. This house is very food-centered, so I figure the earlier you get involved, the better. You were also much more amused by being on the counter than by sitting on the floor – you really like being in the middle of whatever is going on.

You grabbed the lemon first and licked it a few times, then squeezed it and poked at it. You tried to bite it with your two bottom teeth, but decided rather quickly that you didn’t like that at all. Every time I put a new ingredient into the bread, you wanted to stick your hands into the bowl. This generally resulted in you dropping the lemon, which made you angry (you were very tired) so I picked up the lemon and handed it back while trying to keep you from getting too messy.

Eventually I had to zest the lemon, so I took it from you and handed you the plastic cover to the lemon zester. You are much too young to be helping with something that sharp, but someday you’ll get your chance. I rinsed off the lemon while holding you to make sure you didn’t fall off the counter. You were quite angry that I had the lemon and you didn’t, so you threw the cover to the zester on the floor. I finished zesting the lemon and handed it back, but that didn’t make you much happier. It was slippery now!

I finally got everything I wanted into the mixing bowl and turned on the mixer. You promptly tried to stick your hands in it. I stood you up instead so you could watch instead, and that seemed to be a reasonable compromise. When I turned off the mixer and sat you down again, you grabbed the olive oil and started chewing on the cap. That, of course, was the final thing I needed, because I oil the bowl before I put the dough into it. You yelled more. When I pulled out the dough and showed it to you, though, you were fascinated. You grabbed it and poked at it. For once, you didn’t try to put it in your mouth. I put it in the oiled bowl and covered it so it can rise.

I like having you be part of cooking and all of the other normal pieces of life. You already “help” put away laundry; we play peek-a-boo with the clothes I hang up. I’d like you to be part of everything possible and start actually helping as soon as you have the dexterity. I remember how much I loved to cook when I was little; I hope you end up loving it, too.

Your Mama

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