Monday, September 10, 2012

Korean Twice Cooked Chicken Wings: Understanding my child

I know that the blog post have literally dwindled down to the tiniest trickle of almost non-existence.  I've been going through a bit of emotional upheaval and stress and it seems that I am under-qualified for motherhood.

My latest stress has been over Daughter #2 and her true nature - an introvert.  In my mind she is this confident, well-spoken, audacious student, but who she really is is quiet, internal, introspective, and introverted.  She spent the first three years of preschool only nodding her head yes or no when asked a question.  She began coming out of her shell her final year of preschool, thanks to the lovely teachers (J and Y) at her school and in kindergarten I began seeing some hints that perhaps she might come out of her shell.

But she hasn't really.  I haven't given up hope and sometimes that hope pushes me to force her into situations that I shouldn't be pushing her.  Our most recent situation was the Bible Verse Memorization Festival that we held at our church.  It was our first time hosting it and I didn't give it much thought.  I assumed Daughters (Son is too young) would just do it and it would be no big deal.

Upon receiving their assigned verses, both Daughters flopped into the minivan and on our way home from church adamantly declared that they were NOT going to do it. Daughter #1 was very vocal and protested vehemently.  Daughter #2, I could see in the rear view mirror, was completely withdrawn and in another place.  I just quietly reminded the girls that yes, they needed to do this and they could do it with enough practice.

Daughter #2 proceeded to have four meltdowns for unexplained reasons the rest of that evening, and it became clear to me that something was really bothering her.  I pulled her aside and asked what was wrong and she declared that she didn't want to perform the Bible verse in front of an audience.  I told her I needed time to think about what the right thing to do and would get back to her an answer.

I took a step back and slowly thought about the situation.  I thought of what my objective was and what the desired outcome would be.  I considered long and hard and came up with two disparate objectives.

#1.  Get her to do the required task.

#2.  Help her to learn to do the required task.

They seem similar but they really aren't.  #1 really focuses on the outcome of the actual performance.  #2 focuses on the idea that the process of learning is more important than the actual performance.  The tiger mom in me (ROAR) wanted to push #1.  "You will memorize this verse; you will get up in front of people, and you will do it."  But the teacher in me, which generally doesn't turn on around Children, spoke up.  "You know your child.  You know she doesn't easily get up in front of people.  How is forcing her to do it right off the bat going to teach her anything?"

In the end I went with #2, despite the fact that many around me (including Husband initially) felt that forcing her to do it would teach her to do it in the future.  I explained that I saw her doing it in the future, but it just didn't have to be in four weeks. Her road could be a little bit longer to get to the end result.

I explained to Daughter #2 that she did not have to get up on stage and perform her memorization.  She did, however, HAVE to memorize it.  "The only people who are going to care whether you learn it or not are Mommy and God.  You'll have to do it for the two of us.  I will however, give the entrance fee to the festival, and SHOULD YOU decide that you want to recite it on that day, you may.  If you choose not to do it, it will not be because you didn't memorize it, but instead because you choose not to perform in front of others."   Despite giving Daughter #2 an expectation that I knew she could manage (she memorized Psalm 23 in less than two days and recited it for me) her moods were erratic and unpredictable for the four weeks leading up to the festival. There were lots of spontaneous tears, shrieks of anger, a time when I was playing piano for church service only to see a little girl bolt down the aisle and land in my lap as I played, and a variety of unexpected unusual behavior.  I didn't know what was bothering her.

Turns out, it was Big Sister.  Daughter #1 informed Daughter #2, that no matter what, in two years, she would in fact HAVE to perform the Bible memory verse as a 3rd grader.  This two year future event plagued the psyche of Daughter #2 and made her nuts.  I suggested to her that we focus on simply just making it through this year before worrying about two years in the future.  It didn't help.  The only thing that appeased her was the same offer I made for her this current year.

On the day of the festival itself, I still had some hope that Daughter #2 might overcome her fear and get up and try.  Her verse was memorized perfectly and I even found her saying timidly to me, "I think I might want to do it."  She changed her mind several times over the course of the morning, and I tried not to react too much either way.  I clarified that she had fulfilled her end of the bargain and that whatever she chose to do at the festival was up to her.

In the end, she chose not to do it. Truthfully I was a little bit frustrated that she didn't, because other kids made it up there to do it, and you could see the fear in their eyes, but they got up and tried.  And I give much kudos and admiration for that.  I kept on hoping that she would see others pushing through and she would as well.  But I did watch her, silently observing, calculating, and measuring the risks and rewards.  I saw her carefully examine each participants' face, and I saw her measuring the looks of pride and joy on the parents' faces as their own child performed.  Watching her carefully looking at others gave me reassurance that she in fact did fulfill objective #2, learning to do the required tasks.

I'm hoping that after she observed other participants not being eaten up by alligators, not bursting into spontaneous flames, not turning into pumpkins, and not bawling their eyes out, her own worst fears about performance will begin to be alleviated and she too, can get up and try.  Maybe not this next time, but soon.

Daughter #2's favorite thing to eat?  Chicken wings.  She particularly loves this new creation I came up last week and it appeased her for a long while and kept her occupied preventing a couple of meltdowns.  The mix of two types of cooking, roasting and braising, yields a really wonderful texture and flavor.   It's not difficult to make (the roasting part is just merely sticking it the oven) and it can be made ahead by roasting the chicken first and just doing the braising portion right before serving.   Daughter #1 said, "THIS is my favorite chicken." Daughter #2 showed me it was the best chicken by eating 8.  They want it again this week.
Korean Twice Cooked Chicken Wings
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 lbs chicken wings, sectioned off into wings and drummettes (or if you’re lucky only the one part that you like)
¼ cup sake
¼ cup soy sauce
½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 inch ginger root, peeled and sliced into thin disks
2 or 3 dried whole chili pepper, or in a pinch, any fresh whole chili pepper will work (thai dragon or jalapeno)

Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Method
Mix ¼ cup sake and ¼ cup soy sauce in a container where you will marinate the chicken. Add the chicken. Cover and marinate - at least 4 hours, if not overnight.

Preheat oven 400. Drain chicken from marinade. Line roasting pan with foil and lay chicken in a single layer and roast at 400 degrees for 1 hour, until chicken is golden dark brown.

While chicken is roasting, begin preparing braising liquid. To a large pan (big enough to hold 2 lbs of chicken wings) add soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, sake, rice vinegar, garlic cloves, ginger, and chili to a large pan. Bring mixture to a boil AFTER the chicken is removed from the oven. Once braising liquid is boiling, add roasted wings to the mixture, reducing heat to simmer gently, until a thin, shiny glaze forms over the chicken. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Serve hot with plenty of napkins.

Printable recipe


5 comments:

yj said...

Hi, I'm a 19yro girl from the far off country of New Zealand, I moved here with my parents from China when I was 3.
I've been following your blog a long time, but I just thought I would give you my thoughts on what it's like to be a kid who used to be extremely shy :)
I'm not by any means trying to say what is right or wrong, this is just my experience.

When I was young, I was extremely quiet and well behaved, I was just talking to my mum a little while ago and she commented that me and my 6yro brother are completely different. For my entire existence my parents have never needed to concern themselves too much about me. When I was young, I could play quietly for hours by myself with my toys. If they told me not to do something, I didn't.

Later on as I started school, they didn't have to worry about me learning English. I don't really remember the actual learning process, but I'm aware I LOVED reading, and was reading at a 13yro level when I was 8-9. When I entered high school, my parents never needed to concern themselves with my grades, their sole input was reading my report and asking about my exam results.

However, throughout most of this entire time I was EXTREMELY shy. It really wasn't made much better by them sending me to China for half a year with my Grandparents to attend the first half of the year in a Chinese primary school. Already being shy, my 7yro self was terrified by the school in China (a teacher in charge of 60 kids, extremely strict from all things from speaking to sitting posture - yelling a lot, extremely different to the primary schools here where you sit on a carpeted floor and basically play games all day).

At the end of the year, there was this class event where every student gave a simple performance.
All my relatives tried to persuade me to recite something in English, but much like your daughter the thought of it terrified me - speaking in front of 60 of my peers was bad enough already! Add in the idea of speaking in a different language?! I was TERRIFIED and had crying tantrums until they gave in and let me just recite a few Chinese riddles.

Once I came back, I was even more withdrawn and shy about speaking, especially public speaking. I'm not sure if that contributed a lot to it, me being extremely shy already. I don't think my parents noticed to much, since I had always been relatively shy - also they were extremely busy all the time.

Throughout my intermediate and high school career, the thought of public speaking always made me extremely nervous. When we had to do speeches, I put them off until the last possible moment and was always terrified to look up. My hands shook for minutes after the 3min ordeal. It was even scary to answer questions in class.

(continued! sorry!)

yj said...

-c-

I'm not sure why exactly, but throughout high school, I slowly got over my fear of public speaking and just have become A LOT less shy than before.
To be honest, I would tend to put it down to my excellent high school, which had been ranked #1 in NZ for many years (a private girls school). However even with the support and the truly amazing teachers, it took a good many years to slowly shed off the shyness. The new friends I made around that time might also have had something to do with it. Also the part time job I had may have contributed, come to think of it.

Now, I've become way more open, and am actually willing and happy to participate in class discussions, public speaking, and such :)
I had even signed up about 5 months previously to a tutoring program that is being established (https://nceacampus.worldsecuresystems.com/ - if you're interested in the idea, being a teacher), something I would not have considered for a moment if I was as shy as I used to be.

Although it's certainly true that many aspects in my life would have been easier if it were not for my shyness, for me personally, it took a long journey to be able to change that. Personally, being forced in recitations, speeches, piano recitals, debating (an exception for this one, I grew to love it), did NOTHING to make me feel better about the subsequent events, if anything the memory of the fear made me fear it even more!

Anyway, once again I'm sorry for the horrendously long comment - I suspect I might just be trying to put off studying for my test. I wish you all the best in raising your children, and all the other aspects in your life.

Omar said...

I was definitely an introverted child but my parents usually when with objective 2 and from elementary through college I was always doing something that required public speaking from plays to even talent shows later on. The confidence that you get from knowing that you know what you have to remember and having your parents there especially when your young definitely helps. I remember that I could always find my parents in the audience for everything I did. That wing recipe is definitely going to get cooked this weeks. It sounds amazing.

LadySaotome said...

That recipe looks very simple & yummy. I will definitely be trying it out on my picky eater. :) As for your daughter, I'll chime in with everyone else and say I was very shy in middle school / high school. (Not so much in elementary school - we moved and I became introverted.) So I think a lot of it is confidence levels in combination with personality & security. I literally made myself sick with anxiety sometimes. But as I changed and matured, my ability to do more changed, too. I think you handled her fear perfectly - being supportive and gently pushing but not forceful. She knows you're always there for her and loving her regardless and that's what's ultimately important.

bpjarterrier@gmail.com said...

These wings look delicious, I love Korean food.
I also was very shy growing up. I was number 3 of 6. It is very hard being shy and being compared to your outgoing siblings. I did not outgrow most of my shyness until I was in my 20's. I am glad you did not force your daughter, because that does not help believe me. I can remember haveing to get up in front of class in highschool and give an oral book report. My heart was pounding, my hands sweating and I could not have told you what I said after giving the report. My knees were knocking and I am really surprised that I didn't pass out. I felt like I was going to. It is an awful feeling. I really hope that your daughter overcomes this. It might help to try and get her to do this type of thing with another person and just a couple of people at first and increase the amount of people until she is comfortable and then try and have her do it alone or with someone she trusts just standing beside her for moral support. Good luck.

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