Today was cooking day at my angel's school. They were making Pumpkin Muffins. Here's pretty much how it went down:
"Dear Mom (that's me), I just wanted to let you know about a few upcoming food related activities in our class. Next week, we will be making Pumpkin Muffins....Thanks, The Teacher"
Allergens- wheat, egg, vanilla, can pumpkin, soda, vegetable oil
Assessment - no safe substitutes
Realization - allergic to pretty much the whole project; Note to self: the eggs + vanilla could kill
Response - numb
After reading the note from my angel's teacher, this entire thought process happened within a matter of seconds. I'm not quite sure how long the emotional numbness lasted but it didn't pass quickly. My mind was stuck and I just couldn't get it moving again. Typically, I am not the kind of mom who panics. I am the mom who sometimes cries but then immediately begins to find solutions. This time was different. I couldn't seem to move forward. I'm not sure if it was overload or exhaustion but my mind was blank and my eyes stopped reading.
I'm not sure what thrust me back into motion again, maybe the sound of "Mama" from my angel or a little nudge from God, buteventually, I began to think again and I moved on to the next step in my coping process:
Conclusion - There are no safe food substitutes for baking nor can my daughter do a different cooking project since it might distract the children from their work. She will have to participate in the activity without touching the food.
Each time situations of challenge present themselves, I find that I go through this ARRC -Allergens, Assessment, Realization, Response, Conclusion. I call it AARRC because that is usually the same shape that my emotions take as I pass through the process. With heightened emotions at the point of Realization and a calming as I turn toward the Conclusion, the time that I take for each step varies. But, in the end I arrive at a conclusion and take positive action. I realize that this calm response and positive action are important. I don't always do it well but I know the importance of teaching by example how to respond to the lifetime of allergic challenges that await my angel. The little eyes and the little ears, they sense it all and learn how they should behave.
For today, another challenge has been met. The teacher and I decided that I would sit in on this cooking project so that I could better prepare for the next cooking activity. It turned out that my daughter put the muffin liners in the clean muffin pan. If she could read, she could've read the recipe for the group. If there were no pans to prepare, she could count the scoops, cups, or measures. In a group, each person brings their own abilities and their own inablilites. But, the key to success is using each persons ablility while respecting the differences and inabilities. As each group and task changes, each person's contribution will also change. This is an important life skill and one that we practiced today through cooking.
All in all, today was a big AARRC as Mom navigated Cooking 101!