I love to cook, bake, decorate, create, and anything else you can think of in the kitchen (except for cleaning up. I don't think that I will ever enjoy that). Happily, we noticed early on that Mia was always wanting to know what was going on in the kitchen. Quickly, it became too much to hold her and try to prepare food, especially when trying to cut up vegetables or raw meat. So this past Christmas, we thought that we would get her her own little pretend food, pots and pans, and a little chef outfit. Oh, and a shopping cart to carry it all. Now when we cook, she can "cook" with us, but not be in our arms. Of course, this concept only worked for a few weeks, and we had to think of something else.
I thought that maybe if she could see what we were doing while sitting in a chair, then perhaps that would help. I was on the right track, except for the fact that I was using a sharp knife and Mia has small and curious fingers. But then I realized that I still had cilantro leaves that needed to be pulled off the stems. I gave some of the leaves with stems to Mia, and then showed her how to pull off the leaves. This was perfect! She understood it right away and had lots of fun. She was engaged in her task, and I was able to do everything else I needed without worrying about where her fingers were.