Last night while making dinner, Ella wandered into the kitchen and seeing me with a big pot and a big spoon, immediately wanted to help. Or I should say "help". As I cut up the vegetables for the soup, she dumped them into the pot and stirred it while they slowly cooked. We ended up with a fair bit of food on the floor and of course slops of broth all over the stove, but overall, I thought it was an excellent moment of quality time through which I transmitted my love of cooking to my daughter, giving her a memory that she will look back on fondly.
Then this afternoon, as I sat eating the leftovers for my lunch, I bit into something hard. At first, I thought it must be a small rock that had managed to sneak in the pot with the leeks, despite my thorough washing. I stuck my finger in my mouth and dug out the offending lump from between my teeth. As I examined the chunk of partly macerarated food, I saw a bit of a sparkle and realized that it clearly wasn't a rock. Closer examination revealed it to be the earring from Ella's new fav toy, her Disco Sparkle Barbie. Obviously, my cooking lessons were not thorough enough as I failed to tell my small assistant that the only ingredients going in the pot were to be pre-approved by the head chef. I'm not sure if the addition of the earring was deliberate or if Ella's ever-present companion just leaned over too far and accidentally dropped it in.
This sudden Barbie obsession has got me half laughing, half grimacing. Ella doesn't like the dress the doll came in, so she carries her around naked. She doesn't have a name for the doll so instead she calls it "my lady". As in "Maman? Can my lady take a bath with me?" "Where did my lady go?! I can't find her!" She walks around the house talking to the doll and giving her little monologues. When I listen in, I just want to die of laughter. Clearly, she has hit some sort of developmental milestone and her creativity and imagination have gone into overdrive. And while I support any direction her creativity make take, I have to admit that I was slightly more happy to see her spending entire afternoons this summer entertaining herself with a magnifying glass or a piece of rope. Keeping bugs in clear plastic containers squicked me out a bit, but atleast there was an educational side to it. I even grudgingly supported her obsession with birds by buying a picture book on bird identification and spending hours wandering around the yard with a stick, flushing birds out of the trees and bushes (a game brought to an abrupt halt when I nearly knocked a giant wasps nest out of tree).
So, if I can not run screaming from the room when she shows me a giant spider in a poorly closed Tupperware container, surely I can control myself when it comes to playing Barbies, right? So long as she keeps them out of my kitchen.