You think it won’t happen, but even holidays have a way of getting jumbled up and blurry in your memories. The year you tried cooking the turkey in one of those plastic roasting bags – but misread the instructions and ended up with a shrink-wrapped bird and bits of melted plastic on everyone’s plate – was that 10 years ago? Or more? The year the neighbors deep-fried a bird for the first time – and melted some of the vinyl sidings on their garage. When was that?
STORY TIME WITH SHERI
Anyway, I had this whole beautiful movie in my head about how fun it was going to be to cook Thanksgiving dinner with my tiny sous chef by my side. I figured she’d sit in her high chair and look angelic – possibly wave a wooden spoon around now and then. I had a brand new oven mitt with a turkey on it and how fun that would be for her, right? Best. Time. Ever. Mommy’s little helper helping mommy fix Thanksgiving!
Wrong. Not the best time ever. For starters, she picked this day to hate the high chair. The “fun” oven mitt was only fun to throw on the floor – along with every other toy or distraction I offered. The wooden spoon was a hit until it wasn’t, a period of time spanning three and a half minutes at most. What she wanted instead was the shiny silver colander full of fresh green beans. The colander I should have moved when I moved said baby in said hated high chair closer to the sink where I was working. When the colander hit the floor it made such a funny noise that the baby clapped and laughed and I think whoever lives in that house today probably still comes across a shriveled green bean every now and again because those beans went everywhere.
Did you know that babies sometimes poke themselves in the eye? Did you know that the most likely time for this to occur is when you are up to your shoulders in the carcass of a raw Butterball? It’s a fact. Did you also know that singing Raffi’s “Bananaphone” is an excellent distraction for a baby who has poked herself in the eye. Sing louder than a baby can scream will do so much damage to your short-term memory that you will forget to turn the oven on?
So the turkey had an hour or so to sit in a cold oven where at least it was quiet. Out in the kitchen, all was chaos. I tried to peel potatoes; she grabbed at them. I gave her a small, unpeeled potato. She studied it briefly, gummed it, made a horrified face, and then dropped the spud directly onto the head of the waiting dog below. I piled a few more toys onto the tray of the high chair. Nope. She wanted my toys, which in this case were mostly knives and fire. In this completely psychotic fashion we somehow cobbled together dinner.
I still laugh remembering 1) how nuts it was and 2) how nuts I was to expect anything different. I mean, who thinks a baby can help in the kitchen? The best part of it all? It set the template for every Thanksgiving to follow.