How To Cook Dinner With A Toddler In 100 Steps

by Jill Ginsberg
Originally Published: 
A toddler preparing a meal in her play kitchen.

1. Tell your toddler you need to cook dinner.

2. Suggest to your toddler that he/she go play with his/her toy kitchen.

3. Say to your toddler “Mommy/Daddy is going to make something yummy. Would you also like to make something yummy in your kitchen?”

4. Silently thank God that your toddler is actually taking you up on this idea.

5. Start making dinner.

6. Scrub the potatoes.

7. Fill a pot with water.

8. Crush some garlic.

9. Boil some water.

10. Ask your toddler if he/she also wants to boil some water in his/her play kitchen.

11. Remind your toddler that he/she doesn’t need real water and explain that he/she can just use the pretend water from his/her pretend faucet.

12. Ask your toddler to calm down.

13. Since your toddler is not calming down, tell your toddler to go ahead and get a BPA free plastic cup and get some real water.

14. Stress to your toddler that he/she should only get a little bit of water.

15. Realize that it may have been a big mistake to tell your toddler to pretend to boil water.

16. Take the fish/poultry/meat out of the fridge.

17. Notice your toddler at the fridge ready to fill his/her BPA free plastic cup from the water dispenser.

18. Offer to help your toddler.

19. Explain to your toddler that we don’t swat one another in this house.

20. Stand back while your toddler loudly yells “I. SAID. DON’T. HELP. ME!”

21. Watch helplessly as your toddler fills up his/her BPA free plastic cup until water overflows all over the kitchen floor.

22. Resist the urge to say “I told you so.”

23. Try to comfort your toddler.

24. Run upstairs for a towel.

25.Run upstairs again for a really large towel.

26. Clean up the water, carefully sliding your toddler out of the way, since he/she is still lying in a heap on the floor.

27. Ask your toddler if there is anything you can do to help him/her feel better.

28. Tell your toddler that he/she can’t have a lollipop because dinner is going to be served soon.

29. Remind your toddler that it’s not nice to scratch people.

30. Notice that you are bleeding slightly and lay a hearty dose of guilt on your toddler by saying “See, you hurt Mommy/Daddy.”

31. Let your toddler gently cup your face as he/she says “Sowee Mommy/Daddy. Now can I please have a wollipop?”

32. Give your toddler the bag of lollipops and ask him/her to select one.

33. Explain that there aren’t any more blue lollipops.

34. Your toddler will want to know why.

35. Remind your toddler that he/she already ate all the blue lollipops. In one day.

36. Explain that “No, Mommy/Daddy can’t go get more blue lollipops right now because I am cooking dinner.”

37. Remind your toddler that we don’t throw lollipops in this house … and we certainly don’t throw an entire bag of lollipops.

38. Try to comfort your toddler.

39. Try to change the subject and distract your toddler.

40. Ask your toddler if he/she would like to help set the table.

41. Your toddler will immediately b-line it for the cutlery drawer.

42. Quickly season the fish/poultry/meat while your toddler is getting the forks.

43. Preheat the oven.

44. Praise your toddler for doing such a good job putting the forks on the table.

45. Ask your toddler to please go get the napkins.

46. Quickly fix the forks while your toddler isn’t watching.

47. Turn around to discover that your toddler has noticed you messing with his/her forks.

48. Hold your breath as your angry toddler comes storming towards you.

49. Remind your toddler that we don’t throw silverware.

50. Duck.

51. Try to comfort your toddler.

52. Ask your toddler if he/she will please help pick up the forks.

53. Thank your toddler for helping.

54. Ask your toddler if he/she would like a tissue.

55. When your toddler goes to get his/herself a tissue, quickly fold the napkins which were dropped on the floor during his/her tirade.

56. Add the potatoes to the boiling water.

57. Ask your toddler if he/she wants to watch Doc McStuffins.

58. Explain that you can’t go outside and play right now because you are still cooking.

59. Ask your toddler if he/she wants to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse instead.

60. Wonder why you can’t just have a toddler that likes to watch TV.

61. Invite the toddler to help you dry the lettuce in the salad spinner.

62. Explain to your toddler, after five full minutes of spinning, that the salad spinner needs a nap.

63. Allow your toddler to taste the lettuce.

64. Remind your toddler that we don’t spit in this house.

65. Ask your toddler to please go get a napkin and clean up the spit up lettuce.

66. Immediately realize what an idiot you are for bringing back up the topic of napkins.

67. Watch your toddler march over to the table.

68. Watch as your toddler notices that someone else has already put out the napkins.

69. Watch your toddler snatch each and every napkin off the table and crumple it into a ball.

70. Watch your toddler throw all of the crumpled napkin balls onto the floor.

71. Ask your toddler if he/she feels better now.

72. Try to comfort your toddler.

73. Apologize to your toddler for putting the napkins out and say “Mommy/Daddy made a silly mistake and forgot it was your turn to put out the napkins”.

74. Gently pat your toddlers back.

75. Suggest that your toddler might want to put the napkins back on the table.

76. Watch your toddler carefully place each crumpled napkin back on the table.

77. Rinse the cucumbers and tomatoes.

78. Slice the cucumbers and tomatoes.

79. Ask your toddler if he/she wants to help make the mashed potatoes.

80. Pray that he/she says no.

81. Put on a fake smile when he/she says yes.

82. Help your toddler drag a chair over to the kitchen counter.

83. Remind your toddler that the potatoes are very hot.

84. Get out the milk and butter.

85. Get out the potato masher.

86. Strain the potatoes and then dump them into a large mixing bowl.

87. Let your toddler help mash the really hot potatoes.

88. Ask your toddler if you can have a turn now.

89. Warn your toddler that he/she has one more minute until it’s your turn.

90. Let your toddler know that his/her minute is up.

91. Warn your toddler that you are going to count to three if he/she doesn’t give you the potato masher.

92. Count to three.

93. Try to comfort your toddler while you finish mashing the warm potatoes.

94. Add milk and butter to the potatoes.

95. Continue trying to comfort your toddler while you season the luke warm mashed potatoes.

96. Let your toddler add some extra salt to the almost cold mashed potatoes. Okay – a lot of extra salt.

97. Toss the salad.

98. Call the other kids down for dinner.

99. Give your family the death stare when they ask why the napkins are crumpled up and the mashed potatoes are ice cold.

100. Suddenly realize you forgot to cook the fish/poultry/meat.

Related post: How to Take a Toddler Grocery Shopping in 100 Easy Steps

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