Ellie Learns How to Use a Knife

A couple months ago, I realized that I was letting Ellie get behind on her knife-using education (i.e we hadn’t started yet).  So we began with chopping rhubarb for rhubarb crisp bars.  She is now IN LOVE with using a knife and doesn’t let me get away with chopping vegetables for dinner without her.

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We’ve discovered that using a serrated steak knife works best for her.  Cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and rhubarb are all good candidates for almost-four-year-olds to cut.  I usually prepare the sticks (of cucumber or zucchini for example) and them let her chop them into pieces.

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She’s pretty picky about the way she likes things too.  The other day, I left the seeds on the cucumbers because they were small pickling cucumbers (with very small seeds).  I came back a few minutes later to find Ellie painstakingly slicing off every seed.  “We don’t eat the seeds, Mama!”

003 (800x533)zucchini, as chopped by Ellie

For Ellie, using a real knife to cut real food for our real meals is a way for her to feel useful and needed in our family.  It’s also a pretty great way to feel powerful and in control, something that’s usually in short supply when you’re young.  For me, Ellie’s knife adventures are good “letting go” practice.  I have to give up my perfectionist tendencies towards perfectly uniform vegetable pieces.  I also have to practice trusting her, in this case that she’s not going to slice off her fingers.  I figure it’s good practice for all the things that we are eventually going to have to let her do (like drive a car, gasp, faint, fall over.) As a bonus, I don’t have to all the dinner prep by myself anymore! (Plus she’s busy so she’s not pestering her brother while I’m trying to make dinner.)

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3 Responses to Ellie Learns How to Use a Knife

  1. Mom says:

    All Kinds of pluses! And a very good job of cutting up zucchini!

  2. Mom says:

    Also, you are way more trusting than I was with a four year old. I probably let you use a table knife. 😉

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