Sunday, February 19, 2012


We have a Sunday morning ritual - Gluten free pancakes for Gabe. He always wants to help make them. This is a challenge for me. He has preconceived notions about what needs to be done. He has watched me some and just wants to do it himself. He KNOWS how - just dump in some powder (mix), slop in some water, smash in an egg, and move it around with a fork for a moment, dump it in the pan and 6 perfect pancakes miraculously appear.
Over the weeks I have been allowing him to help with various parts of the mixing process. I want him to watch carefully as I do the rest. I explain what I am doing, but he really doesn't listen and watch with a learning attitude. A while back we started with the egg. He wanted to put in the egg. He grabbed the egg and smashed it against the side of the bowl. More egg went down the side of the bowl than into the bowl. Also lots of shell went in. "Ohhh," he whined as could not believe that it didn't work perfectly.
"It takes practice," I said. He has decided not to do the egg. He wants to add the water and stir.
This morning he added the water and gave a little stir. He just wanted me to hurry up and dump it in the pan. There were many lumps, big and small. "We have to get the lumps out first," I said. "They won't be good with lumps. Lumpy pancakes are nasty. When you get the lumps out then they are good." I started to show Gabe how to smash a lump against the side of the bowl with the fork and then stir. I have shown him this several times before but 'it is too much work for him'. He's "so tired he just can't". As I start to show him again this morning he tries to bolt from the situation. I stop him and tell him he has to try. I have decided that we are not going to run away from little problems. We are going to learn to work through them. I insist that he watch carefully and try. He whines some but gives it a try. His hand co-ordination is interesting. He can tie intricate knots and other things like that, but he has trouble getting the last bite of food from his bowl or with things like the specific stirring process that it takes to get lumps out of pancake batter. I think that part of it is the thought process that it takes. He is sooo tired after 30 seconds or less of trying to do something 'hard'.
I have him smash out a few of the lumps and he whines as he tries. I finish, but I make him watch.  As I pour the batter into the pan he says "You gonna make me 6." I assure him I will make 6 pancakes. He wants 6 every time. The pan will fit 2 medium size pancakes at a time. I check the first 2 but they are not quite ready to flip. "You gonna flip them?" Gabe asks.
"In a minute. They are not quite ready," I answer.
"Go ahead, you can do it. Just do it now," Gabe coaches.
"They are not quite ready," I say again.
"Just do it, I know you can," Gabe's coaching has a bit of insistence to it.
"Do you want pancakes that are made right or slop?" I ask.
"I want s..." Gabe trails off as he looks at me. He has realized that he hasn't listened as well as he needs to. I am impressed. He usually just fires back some answer that often makes no sense. He is thinking at this point.
I say again,"Do you want pancakes that are made right or do you want slop?"
"I want pancakes that are right," he answers.
"Ok," I say, "then let me decide when to flip them. If I do it too soon they will just be slop." Gabe does not whine. He watches as I flip them, because by now it is time. "See they're just right." Gabe nods.

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