Kids are Like Pancakes

Mother with kids at the kitchenLast weekend, I decided to follow a new gluten free pancake recipe.  I was careful to follow the ingredients written on the recipe, since I had never done this before.  The directions said to use a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. I spooned the batter into 4 lovely circles on the sizzling pan.  I almost felt tender towards the promising little circles of yum – until it was time to flip them over and  I discovered that the nonstick spray wasn’t working. These little circles of yum became mush – see photo below for a reality check.

For my next attempt, I decided to go a bit rogue and use my common sense.  I generously buttered the pan, poured the batter and watched circles emerge – looking good! until my phone beeped and I  got distracted, responding to a text.  Pancakes? Burnt.  -see photo for reality check#2.

Was the third time the charm? By now, I knew what to do:

  1. butter the pan.
  2. Pour one perfect circle at a time.
  3. WATCH it carefully,
  4. flip when bubbly.
  5. Voila! not perfectly round but still pretty and delicious!

p.s.  JUST KIDDING! I couldn’t make that plate above! That photo above is actually from the recipe card, BUT all three of my batches were actually delish, they just didn’t look anything like the photo led me to expect!

What’s the parable here? There are several.

  1. Good Enough:  As my kids would love to tell you, I’m not the world’s best cook.  At times, I have produced a few startling successes, but most of the time, it’s just good enough to fill the belly without winning any awards.
    Good enough” parenting was a term coined by a child development specialist, Donald Winnicot, when he said that kids don’t need superstar perfection in order to become perfectly great people. Follow the link for more on that!
  2. When to go off recipe: Following the standard rules does not apply to every kid. As with my first pancake batch, the nonstick spray wasn’t effective.  These pancakes needed … ACCOMMODATIONS. In this case, the accommodations was a good stick of butter.  In your child’s case, it may be an IEP or 504 plan. Or medical interventions. Get your child tested if you KNOW they need something, but just aren’t sure what.
  3. Pay attention. Kids don’t grow on their own.  Just as my pancakes got burnt when I took that text, kids can get neglected.  Put down your cell phone long enough to watch your kids grow up.
  4. Specific Accommodations: Like many children, my final pancakes needed me to go beyond the expectations described in the recipe.  For my unique pancakes,  success was a pancake that required:  non-standard administration of the protocol, careful attention and it’s own plan, I mean, pan.  Some kids need us to go above and beyond the standard “recipe”:  pay attention and make sure that your child gets what they need, both from you, from their school and their environment.  Don’t hesitate to make the call if they need more than is “typically acceptable”.
  5. And finally, kids are not, just like pancakes, meant to be picture perfect. But all of them are delicious and no two are exactly alike.

For those who are curious about accommodations, IEP plans, why you should put down your cell phones and the pancake recipe, follow the links. For more about Neuropsychological testing go to my website:

For those who need a more specific “recipe” check out my brilliant colleagues book “Just Tell Me What to Do” by Betsy Brown Braun

For more inroads into atypical children, go to my Not What I Expected – Help and Hope for Atypical Children



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