If you've never tried cooking with your kid, let me be the first to tell you that everything you know is a lie. Sure, stock photos and Pinterest make it look like a magical family-bonding time, but believe me when I say it's a damn dumpster fire in real life. Those biscuits won't seem like such a good idea when your toddler falls off the stool and mixes her snot and tears into the dough. But being in the kitchen is good for little ones, so we'll forgive the gross things every mom does when cooking with her kid.
My husband is normally on "kid duty" when he gets home from work, so I can get dinner ready. When he was deployed for a year, though, I had to figure out how to entertain our daughter on my own and during meal prep. That meant my daughter was tasked with "helping." As a 1-year-old, she was pretty content to bang on pots and pans with a wooden spoon on the floor, but as a fully mobile and increasingly verbal toddler, she wanted in on the action. She really liked me to break off pieces of whatever I was making for her to eat, but mincing garlic in the chopper or depositing sprinkles in any available crevice were her activities of choice.
I didn't really learn to cook (as in, something that didn't come in a box) until I was in my 30s, so it's really important to me to involve my kid in the process and art of food preparation. It's great, really, but sanitization, not to mention my sanity, has taken a hit. I just I can't help but do the following things that I'm convinced (read: someone lie and tell me it's true) every mom does when cooking with her kids: