My kiddos had their last day of school this past week and we are figuring out how best to balance keeping them busy, keeping them safe, and re-introducing them to the world after spending a year and a half at home in virtual school. My youngest is crazy resilient and not yet far enough into puberty to be all angsty and withdrawn – she made tons of friends in her online classes and has already been busy making plans with them for the coming months. The older one, on the other hand, is a full-on teen. She spends HOURS in her room watching YouTube and reading webtoons lamenting that she will have to go to band camp this summer with all of those other people around her – she would much prefer to play her clarinet in a VFW band than in support of any athletic endeavors.
It can be difficult, as many of us are aware, to stay connected to our teenage spawn as the very point of this period in their lives is to gain independence and separate from the family unit. They act like little shits so we will eventually kick them out of the nest – we can start to like them again when they have a little distance. But I still try to find a little common ground, to talk through everything going on, and to provide the support and tools this introverted, sensitive high schooler will need to be a somewhat well adjusted adult. Two of the most important things, in my book anyway, that I’ve done is to teach her how to cook and to expose her to many of the crazy cool different people and cultures in this world. She has a hunger for all of the yummy carbs and a thirst to experience all of the wonders this planet has to offer. That’s ground for celebration as a mom. And finding something that combines both of those things is a mission I don’t take lightly.
But back to YouTube in her room for hours…One of the parenting wins I had last week was to share the first episode of The Lonely Chef Xiaojun in the girls-only chat group my daughters and I share. Xiaojun of WayV nearly silently, and in no way expertly, prepares ridiculously unclassy and quite likely some of the most either disgusting or delicious treats in the world all while dressed in a professional chef’s coat in a gorgeous kitchen. The ingredients are decidedly convenience store grade, the hygiene is as questionable as my own when I’m whipping up a treat for myself, and the fruits of his labor are not entirely nutritious. But man, what a good time. Thing One was completely delighted by the show and made her way through the other few episodes available when she was supposed to be preparing for her math final. Almost like a treat for acing it, Xiaojun released another episode right as she wrapped up the school year. She was stoked. We gabbed on about it for whole minutes.
I was pleased.
Mother-daughter bonding at its best.
The Lonely Chef Xiaojun, Guangdong Taco