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Starting To Grow Up

How Holidays Can Help...

First let me start by saying that it's Rosh Hashanah today, I'm waiting for our challah bread dough to rise, and I'm not Jewish. Also, my kid had a massive meltdown last night and I'm trying to recover by engaging her in the therapeutic act of making bread. Although she was much better this morning I think we both needed to punch something, and dough is perfect. So my husband, who is Jewish, went off to work for half a day and we beat the hell out of some dough. Now that it's quietly rising she is upstairs singing and making some art while I enjoy this peaceful moment.

Are you asking, "What the hell are you yammering on about? I came to The Breastfeeding Lady to read about breastfeeding, or co-sleeping, or parenting my baby!" To this I would like to thank you for being here and ask for you to be patient and read on.

As this is my second blog post I still fell like I'm introducing myself and what I'm blogging about. A lot of what I write about is breastfeeding and early parenting, particularly Attachment Parenting. I will also be writing a lot about food and cooking. The reason for that is simple, I see cooking and food as an integral part of parenting and family life. Breastfeeding, co-sleeping and/or bed sharing, and ways of parenting that follow the needs of your baby are what I call Attachment Parenting, or forming a strong bond and attachment. Cooking wholesome food does this as well. Plus your baby will be eating solids soon and I'd like to share ways of feeding your baby food that won't add to your budget, and won't taste like paste. In the future, when I do blog about specific recipes, I will include a way of making it into a first food for your baby or toddler. The other reason I see food and cooking as an important part of parenting is because teaching your kids how to cook brings you together in a way that's fun. Teaching yourself how to cook enables you to express love through nourishment, plus it's a very useful skill. Practice makes perfect, or at least it makes you a better cook, plus it builds confidence in the kitchen.

Holidays can be stressful, but they can also be a great way to bring families together and have fun. Our daughter is eleven and her little body is just beginning to be inundated with surging hormones. I am quickly realizing that the beginnings of puberty are exactly like the beginnings of toddlerhood. Lots of chaos, falling down and tears. What started as a little crabbiness morphed into a two hour crying jag, complete with hyperventilating. Her, not me. My husband handled her much better than I did. He calmly talked her off the ledge and was very patient. Me? Not so much. As I listened to her wailing I grew more and more irritated. I sat at the dining room table, sipping wine and seething while I watched our beautiful dinner get cold. I wanted to scream at her for behaving like brat, for being selfish, for pissing me off, etc. etc. But I didn't. I know that she's just a little kid who's going through some stuff she doesn't understand. It's my job as her parent to understand. But in that moment I couldn't bring myself to empathize because I was full of self pity about the dinner that had turned to shit. I said "Good Night" and went upstairs to read. When I woke up this morning I decided to take the opportunity of Rosh Hashanah as a teaching moment for both of us. I pulled out the flour and honey and eggs and asked her if she wanted to bake bread. I encouraged her to punch down the dough as hard as she could. I encouraged her to go punch a pillow, or scream into it the next time she was frustrated and in a sour mood. She seemed to love the idea of beating the crap out of a pillow. Learning to channel negative energy and extreme frustration is hard for everyone but I believe it's a very important skill to cultivate.

For those who don't know, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. Even before I knew anything about Judaism, the school calendar always made me think of early fall as a new beginning, or a new year. I love Rosh Hashanah for this reason. The idea of starting over has always felt very self forgiving and refreshing to me. So the next time your baby won't stop crying, or your nipples are sore and you can't stand the thought of breastfeeding for the hundredth time, or my kid has another prepubescent meltdown, let's go scream into a pillow, pull on our big girl pants, and start over.

To everyone around the world who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah today... May this new year bring you peace, joy and love! L'Shana Tova!

For anyone who is interested in making this delicious challah bread, please find the recipe here

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