This morning I reached into our usually well-stocked diaper cupboard and cringed when I realized it was empty. There wasn’t even an old, slightly-too-small diaper hiding in the back that I could use in pinch. It was completely bare. Apparently I’m the Old Mother Hubbard of baby supplies.
I stood there for a moment, looking at the last diaper and seriously considered whether I should just put the baby outside for the rest of the afternoon so I could save that last precious item for bedtime. In the end I decided I hated cleaning urine off my carpets more than I hated going to the grocery store, so I slapped the diaper on the squirming baby and headed off to find the three-year-old.
He was sitting on the toilet, reclined up against the back of the seat, with his legs crossed, his feet up on the side of the tub, and the iPad in his lap. His butt was nowhere near the toilet bowl. Of course, when I asked him if he was finished he insisted that he was still pooping and feigned grunting noises to sell the lie. He wasn’t going anywhere.
The baby had crawled over to his favorite pooping spot near the train table, and I knew it was only a matter of time before he soiled that final diaper. He grinned up at me with a knowing smile on his face and slightly watery eyes. Shit.
I needed to get my three-year-old motivated, and fast. I tried bribing him with candy. I tried offering to buy him with a new toy at the store. I even tried threatening him with a time-out I really didn’t have the time to enforce. He crossed his arms across his chest, dug in his heels, and refused to move.
So I tried something new.
I asked him if he’d like to do the shopping today instead of me. I told him he could have his own mini-shopping cart, put whatever he wanted to eat inside, and I’d buy it for him. He looked intrigued by the idea, but wasn’t completely sold. The baby was grunting in the corner, so I pressed on.
I told him that when we got home from the store, we’d take the items he bought and he could be in charge of making a meal out of them. He’d be the chef, and I’d be his assistant. He could have complete control.
“Can I make ice cream, and pizza?”
“Honey, you can put ice cream on pizza if you want. It’s up to you.”
I had him right where I wanted him. He jumped happily off the toilet and helped me get him dressed quicker than he’d ever donned a pair of pants in his life. The prospect of carte blanche at the grocery store and then complete power in the kitchen was too good an opportunity to pass up.
So we left the very ripe-smelling baby with Daddy and off we went to do our weekly shopping. I pushed one cart and he pushed another. I filled mine with a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four, while he wandered thoughtfully down the aisles, carefully selecting only the best ingredients for his upcoming Master Chef experiment.
If you’ve ever wondered what a three-year-old would put on his shopping list if he were throwing a dinner party, let me enlighten you.
When we arrived at the check-out counter, these were the items I found in the three-year-old’s shopping basket:
1. A single Naval Orange
2. 1 bag of Frozen Corn
3. 3 bags of greek yogurt covered Craisins
4. Nacho cheese Doritos
5. Organic wheat rigatoni
6. Quaker dinosaur eggs instant oatmeal
7. Bacon flavored Ritz crackers
8. Microwavable Kraft macaroni and cheese
9. 1 can of red kidney beans
10. 1 bag of baby carrots
11. Ice cream cones
12. M&M blondie mix
13. A loaf of bread
14. Asparagus and cheese stuffed chicken breasts
15. Pink milk-flavoring drops
Fortunately, we didn’t duplicate any items on our shopping lists. Because THAT would have been a waste of money.
When we arrived home, we unpacked the groceries and laid everything from his basket on the counter. It was time to concoct a recipe from the fine, and varied, ingredients he selected.
But before I tell you about our cooking adventure, I’d like to know:
What would you cook with these items?