When Zoe was much younger we didn’t let her play with knives. Because we are good parents and good parents don’t let toddlers play with weapons. In fact, we even went so far as to teach her they were dangerous.

And, yet another lesson backfired. She became, unreasonably, scared to death of knives. We’d sit down at a table in a restaurant and she’d immediately fish her knife out of her rolled napkin and so cautiously hand it to the nearest adult. Or we’d ask her to set the dinner table and she’d frantically shake her hand, waving the knives away, as if we were handing her a grenade. It was fine when she could have caused serious damage to herself or someone else.

But now she’s getting bigger. She can use the toilet on her own. She can ride a tricycle. She can even use scissors. You’d think she’d be able to use a butter knife. We thought so, but she had a mental thing against the mere idea of even holding a knife.

So the other afternoon I was making salsa and Zoe asked if she could help. I said she could cut the onions. She said ok. Then she changed her mind, realizing she’d have to handle that scary utensil we call a table knife. It took a long time to convince her that she is now a big girl and I trust her to be careful and it’s time to trust herself.

My little chef reluctantly agreed to attempt to manage a knife. And do you know what? She did a remarkable job. I mean, she probably could work on her dicing skills a bit. Look at the size of those onion chunks:


But all in all, she was awesome.

Today, she certainly won’t volunteer to hold a knife, but she will allow one to be at her place setting during dinner and she’s even attempted to cut up her food a few times. I imagine it will only be a few more decades before she’s willing to butter some toast.

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