It started when Lizzie was about 2 years old. Someone gave us a plastic kitchen play set and we put it in our kitchen so she can cook when mom cooks. It has a little stove, faucet and microwave. There are a few other compartments, but you get the idea. We gave her some plastic dishes and a few kid-sized kitchen tools and she began to cook. One day we went to a garage sale and bought some little toy animals. When we got home, she dug out the small plastic turtle and proceeded to cook it. Being the first child, I have pictures and at the time felt that if one day she became a famous chef, well, I would have pictures of how it all started. Then she asked me to taste it. What was I supposed to do? I tasted it. That was the best turtle I’ve ever eaten.
Fast forward to present day. Evelyn brings me a plate with three strings of Mardi Gras beads-red, purple, and yellow with bats- and a piece of pretend lettuce. It’s a berry salad. A golden, purple, cherry berry salad. I’m assuming it was proclaimed the salad because she put the piece of lettuce on it. And she asked me to taste it. What did I do? I tasted it.
Will has gotten in on the action too. He discovered the tea pot and tea cups. The boy makes a mean pot of pretend tea. I drink it.
Casey brought me a pretend piece of fried chicken. I tasted that too. He laughed hysterically. I thought he was too young for this game. Guess not.
This brings me to the next pretend thing my kids play. They talk on the phone. Not real phones, but pretend ones. They have princess phones, old cell phones and at times a banana phone. My kids have been known to turn any type of toy into a phone. About a year ago, my husband spent a lot of time working from home and would walk around the house with a cup of coffee and a phone. Very quickly, Will began to walk around the house with a phone just like his dad. It was adorable.
It gets better. All four of my kids have done this. Casey did this just the other day. They walk up with the pretend phone and hand it to me. Then they wait. What am I supposed to do? If you have a small child at home, you know the answer. You pick up the phone and you answer it. You talk to whoever it is on the other end. It is most likely Grandma or another favorite relative, but it could be anyone. When you are finished, you hand them back the pretend phone and act like that was normal. In my house the child will walk away happy. Or they will chatter for a moment and hand the phone back. Sometimes you act as your child’s personal secretary and have this conversation: “Oh yes, you want to talk to Casey? Here he is.”
You never ignore the opportunity to taste the food or answer the phone. I could say this is because you never want to miss a moment of their precious childhood and your sweet baby has discovered the freedom of imagination. You never want them to lose this freedom, so you indulge in this ritual of tasting or answering. If not your heart will cry because you missed a second of this preciousness.
Or you answer the phone because realize your child wants to be just like you whether cooking or working and you must make sure they are acknowledged and not ignored.
Plus if you don’t taste the food, they will continue to bug you unless you give in and will cry until you do.
Whatever the reason. Taste the food. Answer the phone. Soon it will be real food they are cooking and real phones they are answering. They are only little once.