Following on from my Christmas tutorial on how (not) to make Christmas cards with toddlers, I present these detailed instructions for making a chocolate covered Easter mess, sorry, nest.
I guarantee that, as long as you exactly follow these directions, you will be able to achieve complete chocolate coverage of all participants – and the floor – and at least one person crying at some point. I do not guarantee that you will achieve the production of an Easter nest.
What you need:
Two toddlers of varying ages
Small decorative Easter chicks
A wooden spoon
A mess mat for the floor
Copious amounts of wipes
Eyes in the back of your head
To have lost your mind
What to do:
1. Break up the chocolate. Give a strip each to the toddlers, and show them how to break it into pieces. If done correctly, the biggest toddler will make valiant attempts with two outcomes. Firstly, her hands will be covered in sticky chocolate. Secondly, you will realise that this is not an ideal activity for toddlers (chocolate squares are actually quite hard to break). The strip actually getting broken into pieces is not an outcome you will see. Meanwhile, you should be observing the littlest toddler attempting to ram the strip of chocolate into her mouth. Remove the chocolate from both toddlers.
2. Clean both toddlers’ hands.
3. Clean the littlest toddler’s mouth.
4. Give the biggest toddler a piece of the chocolate because she has just realised that the littlest toddler was eating it, not breaking it, and she feels she has missed out.
5. Break the chocolate into pieces yourself.
6. Explain that the chocolate needs to be melted by Mummy now.
7. Remember how long it takes to melt chocolate (without burning it).
8. Remember how little patience toddlers have.
9. Answer three million questions about whether the chocolate is melted yet. These should all be from the biggest toddler. You should by now have lost the littlest toddler. She is no longer interested. She wants a yoghurt.
10. Give littlest toddler a yoghurt. The biggest toddler should demand a yoghurt too. At this point, you should find that the chocolate is finally nearly melted. Explain to the biggest toddler that the Rice Krispies will need to be stirred into the chocolate as soon as it is ready, before it sets again, and therefore she needs to wait and have a yoghurt afterwards (because the chocolate is nearly ready). Answer further questions about when the chocolate will be ready (it’s nearly ready). Answer bonus questions about why the little one gets to have a yoghurt (she is no longer playing the baking game).
11. Bring out the bowl of now melted chocolate. At this point, the littlest toddler should remember that this activity is edible and decide that she is playing again.
12. Allow the biggest toddler to pour some Rice Krispies into the bowl. Realise that this was a bad idea.
13. Stop the littlest toddler from sticking the spoon from her now abandoned yoghurt into the bowl.
14. Give the biggest toddler the wooden spoon and tell her to stir in the Rice Krispies.
15. Explain to the biggest toddler that ‘stirring’ does not mean whacking the mixture, splattering Rice Krispies and melted chocolate far and wide.
16. Give the littlest toddler a turn at stirring.
17. Explain to the littlest toddler that ‘stirring’ does not mean whacking the mixture, splattering Rice Krispies and melted chocolate far and wide, even if that’s what her sister did.
18. Do some stirring yourself so that Rice Krispies actually get covered in chocolate.
19. Let the biggest toddler pour some more Rice Krispies into the mix. Realise that this is not becoming a better idea.
20. Remove the littlest toddler’s hands from the mixture.
21. Tell the littlest toddler not to touch anything, thus ensuring she touches everything in sight.
22. Tell the littlest toddler not to move, thus ensuring she runs through the splattered chocolate from earlier, covering the bottom of her tights.
23. Tell the biggest toddler to put down the Rice Krispies and wait.
24. Tell the littlest toddler not to step off the mat.
25. The littlest toddler should decide that this challenge is accepted.
26. Chase the littlest toddler across the floor. Wrestle her out of her tights and forcibly wipe her hands.
27. Tell the biggest toddler to put down the Rice Krispies and wait.
28. Clean chocolate off the floor.
29. Tell the biggest toddler that she can now pour more Rice Krispies. Regret this decision.
30. Give up all attempts to get the toddlers to stir. Stir the mixture yourself, whilst trying to prevent the biggest toddler from adding more Rice Krispies, and the littlest toddler from eating the mixture.
31. Tip the finished mixture onto a plate, explaining that it needs to be shaped into a nest.
32. Encourage the biggest toddler to help shape the mixture with the spoon. Explain that this does not mean whack the mixture with the spoon.
33. Encourage the littlest toddler not to help shape the mixture with her hands. Or her mouth.
34. Encourage the biggest toddler not to follow her little sister in trying to shape the nest/shovel the nest into her mouth with her hands.
35. Shape the nest as quickly as possible yourself, whilst yelling at two chocolate coated toddlers not to move at all, and under no circumstances to leave the mat.
36. Leave the finished nest and fetch wipes.
37. Notice both toddlers lunging for the nest.
38. Rescue nest and take it to the fridge, whilst repeating shouted instructions to the toddlers not to move at all.
39. Return to the toddlers, and attack the littlest toddler with wipes.
40. Having cleaned the littlest toddler, start on the biggest toddler.
41. Once the biggest toddler is clean, remember that the littlest toddler had earlier abandoned a half eaten pot of yoghurt. Approach the now yoghurt covered littlest toddler with more wipes.
42. Explain that the nest needs to set in the fridge for a few hours before the toddlers can fill it with mini eggs and chicks.
43. Clean everything in the vicinity, whilst answering repeated questions about whether the nest is set yet.
44. There should now follow several hours of questions about whether the nest has set yet, after which the nest will be ready for decorating. This should cause great excitement among the toddlers, who believe that ‘decorating’ is another word for ‘eating’.
45. Take the mini eggs, and give some to each toddler to put into the nest. Tell the biggest toddler to put the eggs into the nest, not her mouth. Tell the littlest toddler to put the eggs into the nest, not her mouth.
46. Once all the eggs are in the nest, give the little chicks to the toddlers to sit among the eggs.
47. Rearrange the upside down, thrown and face-planted chicks so that they are sitting among the eggs.
48. As you all survey the finished nest, resplendent with eggs and Easter chicks, realise that the toddlers are not very clear on what a nest is. Or what Easter is. Or what chicks are (though they are experts on ‘bird’, ‘duck’ and ‘penguin’).
49. Note that the toddlers are clear on what ‘made of chocolate’ is, and that their excitement is therefore not remotely diminished by the fact that they have no clue what they just made or why.
50. Take a picture of the nest to prove it existed. (Not for Pinterest, obviously: these instructions are not for people who can Pinterest. These are for people who can Buzzfeed. In the ‘Pinterest Fails’ section.)