Today in Transition Skills, we continued with cooking. Annie made Nutella pancakes.

I would love for Annie to learn to bake from scratch. This adventure is about her, though, and not about my secret childhood to be Laura Ingalls. Instead, we are being practical. Since Annie doesn’t really eat many baked goods and doesn’t like bread at all, it is much more practical for her to buy a box of Bisquick for occasional use, than to have flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, etc. on hand (See our previous work on grocery budgets).

We focused on ingredients and adaptation. Annie’s first thought (as usual) went to chocolate, specifically, chocolate chip pancakes. We didn’t have chocolate chips or even a secret Hershey bar we could melt. I waited while she considered options (apparently plain pancakes with sugar-free syrup was not a valid suggestion). The Nutella was her brainstorm.

Turning a basic pancake recipe into a Nutella pancake recipe involves adaptation, flexibility, of thought, and creativity. The flexible thinking approach can be hard for someone with Annie’s neurology, but she was all in. I was particularly impressed that she just eyeballed the amount of Nutella to add, not measuring or asking my opinion (which would have been to guess, anyway).

Pancake making, Nutella or not, involves a lot of impulse control. If you’ve never made pancakes, it’s an exercise in patience. You have to wait until bubbles have come up through the pancake surface, and popped. The impulse is to DO something, move the pancake, flip it early, check it. It’s excruciating because if the heat is too high, the pancake could burn. Also, pancakes are delicious, and waiting is hard.

Not to leave out the fine motor portion of the activity, flipping a pancake takes some serious manual dexterity. Using a spatula over a hot stove isn’t to be scoffed at either.

There was a bigger lesson overall today, and that one was for me. I had a whole lesson plan about state and local government all set to go. It has charts and maps and some subtle references to gerrymandering. I worked on it for hours. Then Annie woke up gung ho for cooking today. There are important skills in cooking, and I’ve learned to follow her lead and her joy. Moms need to learn about flexibility and adaptation, too.

Gerrymandering will wait until tomorrow.