The "play" kitchen. You mommas and daddies out there know how we all feel about that "pretend" kitchen. I loathe it. There are no words to describe my feelings for it. Well bonfire comes to mind. It is a kid mess magnet. I clean up more plastic food off the floor than real food off my kitchen floor in a year. And not nice plastic food mind you. Chewed, germ-infested, smashed bananas, pies, eggs , more than you could ever imagine. Oh no, you can't just buy the produce pack or fruit pack. You get the whopping 350 piece food kit complete with canned goods and cardboard Ol El Paso Taco mix boxes. Those by the way lasted 2 days. And the play kitchen just isn't complete without receiving one jumbo food box from each grandparent along with the complete utensils that will easily serve 90.
Every morning the kids empty everything out of the little kitchen, without fail. Do they play with it? Gabe, never; he lives to dump. Audrey, occasionally a full-blown stuffie picnic is looming. I really only give the kids a third of the junk to play with and box the rest away and it's still too much! The chewed up french fries and beans go right to the trash, my rule is you chew, you're through, and right to the garbage. But I think secretly that Rubbermaid boxes multiply the items within. It's true, clothing, toys, Christmas ornaments, and plastic kitchen food and accessories.
To keep my sanity, I had to stop cleaning it up throughout the day. The worst is when you've just cleaned it up and turned your back and hear the dump. Count to 10, then 20, then 30, oh walk away so the child lives. Now, I only clean it up at night before bath time, and truly I try to get the kids to help. But if I made them clean it up alone, they'd be cleaning up food for an hour; crazily throwing everything into the cupboards only to spill open soon after.
There was a time too, when Gabe got himself trapped inside the sink of the play kitchen. I thought it was mighty hysterical until I couldn't get him out. Frantically, I called Paul to rush home, keeping Gabe occupied with chocolate donuts and a video, and we stripped him down and buttered him up and pulled him through. Kitchens are not for climbing. If we would've had to use a saw to free him, I wouldn't have been terribly distressed.
Bless my sweet well meaning parents for getting Audrey that cute little kitchen, and the 350 piece food set, and 90 serves none utensils, and power pots 'n pans combo pack, and potholders and aprons; I do appreciate your intentions. And now that I think about intentions...I know you're laughing at me. Payback, well I probably deserve it.
So here's my word of warning to all parents to be, just say no! Resist the play kitchen, they make them cute, like puppies, be strong. Otherwise if your dead set on it, I'll give you a real good deal on a slightly used (and buttered) one complete with slightly chewed, mystery gooed plastic food.