Thursday, July 28, 2005

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)


At July 28, 2005 at 8:53:00 AM EDT, Blogger torontopearl said...

Listen, A Simple JEWESS...
That was a BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL post (also saw it on THE JEWISH CONNECTION)...and I got a real sense of that mother-daughter-Shabbos bond.

If you don't already own it, perhaps look for the picture book, "Once Upon A Shabbos" by Jacqueline Jules. It's about a bubbe who need ingredients for a Shabbos kugel and sends out family members to buy them... (that's all I'm going to say) It was your listing of ingredients that reminded me of this book I've read over and over and over to my children.

BTW, save me a piece of that challah, okay?

At July 28, 2005 at 12:45:00 PM EDT, Blogger smb said...

Excellent Beautiful post!

Enjoyed it immensely

At July 28, 2005 at 5:34:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm too old and too male to cry...beautiful

At July 28, 2005 at 7:42:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not as religious as your family, I had a different upbringing, but can tell that the scene you describe is why Shabbes was created!

At July 29, 2005 at 9:36:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best way to develop love of yiddishkeit.-mother child bonding on the positive mitzvot of shabbos.

At July 29, 2005 at 9:40:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thank you for all your comments. My wife really appreciates them.

At August 9, 2005 at 8:27:00 PM EDT, Blogger TRW said...

Just wanted to let you know that I referred to this blog tonight when I couldn't remember the trick for 6-braid challah. So thanks! :)

At November 6, 2005 at 7:04:00 PM EST, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

I know it's a little late, but this is great. My (now) 4 yo loves to help with the challah. I have to hold the ingredients else they'd mostly end up on the heating element instead of in the tub.
She can almost break an egg, but most of all she loves to "paint" the challahs.

At November 7, 2005 at 6:35:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

David: Thanks for sharing your story as well :)

At January 18, 2006 at 10:52:00 PM EST, Blogger Ezzie said...

I stop by rarely, but MCAryeh pointed out a bunch of your posts today. Wow. This was incredible.

At January 19, 2006 at 6:21:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks Ezzie. I appreciate your warm words.

At December 22, 2007 at 3:55:00 PM EST, Blogger Ilana said...

It worked! I made Challah and your device for remembering made it possible for me to remember and understand what to do. And the Challot came out great!


At December 22, 2007 at 7:20:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks for letting me know. I am glad to hear it!


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