Learning by the seat of my pants

There are days on this journey that have me learning by the seat of my pants. And this was one of those days. My youngest son loves to watch the YouTube channel Feast of Fiction, which I highly recommend for cool ways to bring some of your children’s favorite in game, anime, pop culture recipes to life. He showed me three videos all of which he wanted to make. I keeping with my commitment to Yes energy agreed. Here’s where it all got super interesting, he meant right now!

The other piece of this day that challenged what I know about following a recipe is, that my son is gluten free. So I would need to on the fly watch the video, read the recipe and adjust to make it all gluten free. Everything in me wanted to say, “but I don’t know how to to do this, can we find something easier.” But his heart was set on making Cinnamon Butterscotch Pie from UnderTale, Poro snacks from League of Legends and Rare candy from Pokemon (the links are included in case you are inspired to head off and make these treasures yourself). So I was staring down making a gluten free pie crust because even though in the video they purchase pre-made crusts I have yet to track down a gluten free one that is worth eating, butterscotch pudding for the first time ever and a pizza dough that was gluten free and pliable enough to roll up like a cinnamon bun. Now for those of you that have not worked in the world of GF baking there is not a lot of give or room for error when handling these things. In general I roll out everything onto the surface it will stay for the duration of it’s cooking and then say a little prayer that it will not crumble to tiny bits on route from plate to mouth. Oh and I’ve never made candy before either.

It would have been easy under these circumstances to make my son pick one on these recipes for us to tackle. Or explain to him how recipes are just impossible to make gluten free. But he was keen to learn how to cook new things. He was excited to explore recipes that were actually from some of his favorite games. But most importantly he fully believed all of this was possible. And that is what I call a motivated learner. If you want something to stick in the mind of young person, having them show up self motivated, eager, with confidence and full enthusiasm is that way to do it.

So I rolled up my sleeves and we watched the videos again and talked about what it would take to make some of the things gluten free and then began a whirlwind day of preparing foods and learning on the spot. The beauty of tackling a task together that neither one of us has done before is that we get to learn together. Which is great modeling for the ways in which  I seek out information when I am wanting to learn something new. It’s also a chance for me to get a peek into how my son tackles new information. Back and forth together in the heat of the “oh no grab it before it boils over moments, “ and the “ack we forgot to add the vanilla is it okay to drop in now, “ we saw each other side by side learning through mistakes and finding on the spot solutions.

It is true that when things were looking to wrap up my son ran out of steam. He wanted me to finish up without him. It would have been easy to ruin the whole day, the whole experience by saying something like, “this was your idea you need to stick around and see it through.” Or to myself, give up and walk away with projects unfinished. But he still wanted to eat the tasty treats. He had simply reached the end part of his learning.  It’s true that the brain can only take in and retain so much new input at one time. I remember a university professor giving us all the tip, when we were studying, to take at least a ten to fifteen minute break for each hour of studying we were doing so we could make room for the new information to come in. So, I happily stayed in the kitchen to finish up the projects because truth be told I was completely committed and I wanted to see it all through.

We nailed the pizza dough and as a result found the best way for making gluten free pizza dough after years of trying. The Poro snacks were a HUGE hit. The pie, oh, the pie, it was delicious to three out of four members of the family and terribly disappointing for the one person who was most excited to try it. His little heart crumbled when after three hours of cooking and waiting the pie didn’t taste good to him. It’s devastating when you put in a lot of hard work and end up not happy with the results.

Again, it can be easy at this point in the exhausted day to snap at the person in front of me that is crying and angry after all my efforts. But it has been one of my biggest lessons in this journey to remember that when my child is devastated and upset it’s not about me. It’s not about my hurt feelings, or my fatigue, it’s about showing up for them. It’s hard to find a recipe you really want to try, to put in hours of prepping and waiting only to discover you’re not a fan of a cinnamon butterscotch pie. That’s what’s really true here. He’s not ungrateful for my time and effort. He is simply sad that this pie tastes bad to him. And it doesn’t help that everyone else likes it. It just means he is missing out on having that yummy feeling.

And so there is another day in our lives. Filled with embracing the eager learning, supporting the passion, making big messy mistakes and holding the heartbreak that comes with disappointment. Personally,  I wouldn’t change one of bit of this wild ride of emotions and broken egg shells on the floor because it’s a chance, over and over again, to show up and connect with these precious human beings I am blessed to have as my children.

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