A Guest Posting From My Wife - "Second Overall, First In The Middle"
"Second overall, first in the middle, Mommy," my daughter chants as we braid the challah dough for Shabbos. Since learning this short-cut to remember how to braid a 6-braid challah a few months ago, my daughter and I have been making challah together.
The amazing thing is that my daughter is 2 years old. She'll turn 3 in August. Since I have a 1-year old at home, too, I do take a short cut and use the bread machine to prepare the dough. Otherwise, my kitchen would become more of a disaster than it already is. My daughter loves to help me go to the pantry and get out each of the ingredients. She tells me, "Mommy sugar, yeast, salt and honey." She remembers everything that goes into the dough. Next, she drags the wooden stool across the kitchen floor and climbs on top to see what is going on at counter-height. Then, we carefully dump each of the ingredients into the bread machine. Yes, a little gets dumped on the counter and on the floor, but I try to maintain composure and remember that she is only 2 years old and there is nothing that a wet rag cannot clean up!
She begs me to crack the eggs and measure the flour :)
She pushes the button on the bread machine and we start the dough cycle. After an hour, she hears the beep and says, "Mommy, time to braid!" She runs down to the kitchen and pulls the stool back out. Now, this is the time she LOVES. I give her a piece of dough and she loves to squish and squeeze it with her little hands. "Mommy, it's sticky," she says and I give her a little flour for her hands. She loves this because it adds to the mess.
I divide the dough and she helps me remember how to braid, "Second overall, first in the middle." After I am done with my "big" challah, she lets me braid her "own" challah. It is so wonderful to see her smile when we finish braiding. Now, it is time to cover the challahs to keep them warm while they rise. She tells them, "Night, night...see you soon!"
While she is absorbed with her toys an hour later, I sneak upstairs to put the challah in the oven. A little while later, we have a beautiful Mommy and Daughter challah for Shabbos.
My husband comes home from work erev Shabbos and our little girl helps set the table and get things ready for Shabbos. She even helps place the candles in the candlesticks. When I finally bring the challah board over with the challahs covered for Motzi, everyone is excited to see what is underneath! At last, my husband says "Kiddush", we wash, and then we say Motzi. Ah...with a big smile, he uncovers the challah my daughter and I made.
Her ear to ear grin is priceless. After Motzi, she spends most of the meal drinking grape juice and gnawing on the mini-challah I braided for her.
"Daddy, second overall, first in the middle, me do it myself," she tells my husband. The moments we create now will last us a lifetime.
(Cross Posted on The Jewish Connection)