Now that the bigger kids are back to school in person most days, Evie our five-year-old is home with just Declan left to play with. When he goes down for a nap, I like to take a bit of time just one on one with her. Everleigh is one of our kiddos who is on the spectrum and she has a few obstacles she will have to overcome as she hits school age and is with more peers.
One of the biggest things Autism has taught me as a mother is to never let it get you down, to dig in and find what works for each of your kids. For Everleigh, she loves to feel like she’s doing something important and helpful. When she feels accomplished, man can she do anything! Some of her biggest struggles with an Autism and ADHD diagnosis are really self-regulation. Much like our oldest son Graysen, she is maturing and I find things she struggled with before are no longer difficult for her. Of course, like all five-year-olds, she has her moments.
Today I wanted to take some time to let her help me bake some apple crisp. Now let’s be honest, this is one of those things where I could easily have it done in 10 minutes and have half of the dishes and half of the mess. As a mom, I know that these are the moments where I can let go of that control and let her explore and learn.
Today we were trying out a new recipe, I won’t bother to link it because it was a fail as far as I’m concerned. The topping for the apple crisp was just too fine, and not enough oats. So it looks mostly like apples with sugar baked on top. Such is life! My husband eats it, and he rarely complains about desserts so it won’t go to waste. Also, a little mom tip, I use these weighted rubber bottom mixing bowls because I used to not and after a dozen BIG messes, I switched!
Whenever I bake with the smaller kids I like to measure things ahead of time and either leave them in the measuring cup or place them in a bowl so that the kids can dump them in. Today the recipe was simple and only left Evie with a few items to dump in, and then stir.
These tasks really give her a chance to work on some skills that she needs to improve. The most obvious one would be motor skills with mixing and pouring ingredients. Shoot I don’t know about you but a few mixes into a baking task and my arm is killing me. She’s practicing motor planning, to really think about spreading the apples out in the pan, and then the toppings. It took a good bit of self-control for her not to dump the entire 1/2 cup of brown sugar in one spot and instead sprinkle it. She also got a chance to practice some number recognition when I let her help me melt the butter in the microwave. She even got to use her favorite Anna spatula. She was so proud of herself, baking daddy a surprise dessert. She kept saying “I love it because I can be a real chef”. It was also neat to see her use the apples she had went to the store and helped me pick out. We finished the afternoon by making a scarecrow craft and reading a fancy nancy story called apples galore.
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