As regular readers will no doubt have noticed by now, I cook. I love baking especially and I remember baking with my Granny as a little girl. Not surprisingly, I held rosy-tinted visions in my heart of baking with my beloved child, once upon a time. No longer, I'm the wrong sort of Mum.
Back when Small was much smaller, I would sit in him in highchair next to me and put raisins on the tray to keep him occupied and talk him through what I was doing. That was fairly successful when he was all of 9 months old but the older he got, the less time he wanted to spend suck in the chair, watching. I started doing my baking when he was napping or asleep for the night if I could but recently thought it might be worth trying again. Today I thought we'd try making some jammy rock cakes, asked Small what he thought and he was delighted.
He sat on the counter by the mixing bowl and I measured in the butter then went to measure the flour
"arg, Small! No! Leave the butter in the bowl please, Mummy will only be a minute"
"Small! Please! Leave the butter in the bowl!"
Flour added, Small has a moment of consternation at this development and asks for a spoon. Get out pastry blender instead and explain that we're going to 'mash' (Small loves mashing potatoes), he's slightly mollified, until the butter sticks to the blender, then he's upset again and tries to throw the butter out of the bowl.
I do the worst of the butter/flour blending quickly then invite him to join in with his fingers, this works marvellously for about 20 seconds, at which point Small begins dumping his handfuls over the side and all over the floor.
Give up, lift him down onto the floor and try not to throw a freak about the mess and the waste while he throws a freak about not being able to help any more.
Lift him back up, try to interest him in helping me weigh out sugar more than removing more flour from the bowl. Add sugar. Allow Small to mix in sugar with a spoon. He is happy, so happy that he starts spooning out the mixture on to the counter, floor and all over himself. Sigh.
Clear up, add egg and with both participants holding the spoon mix it in with a bit of milk until dough forms - The Home Straight! Whoo Hoo!
We spoon the dough onto a baking sheet, make dents in the top and add the jam, Small tries to eat the jam and thinks once the jam is on the buns, they're ready to eat. Is given spoon to lick as standard perk of the job.
Finally, buns go in the oven, timer set (I won't hear it go off mind, as I'm distracted by both the news of the birth of a good friend's new baby and Small running rampage around the living room) I could swear I've spent more time sweeping up escaped cake mix than I have actually baking.
Moral of the story? I am too much of a control freak to bake with a two year old. I think I did it wrong, focussing on having an end result more than the process of cooking with him but dammit, I really hate waste. I know that some of my friends can do it, they talk about baking with their toddlers all the time. Probably while singing a harmonious duet with a passing bluebird and getting washing up assistance from local wildlife. The cows.