Saturday, February 27, 2010

How does she do it?

For those of you wondering how I find time to bake bread with a baby, here is how it done! Bread-baking does take a long time, but you have to remember - the dough is rising, resting, or baking most of the time - there is probably about a half hour of actual labor involved. Most of the time the bread is taking care of itself and I'm chasing Joe around the house trying to prevent him from yanking on the dogs' ears or dismantling the washing machine. One good thing about making bread (in addition to the lovely smells) is that the timing is not particularly sensitive - an extra ten minutes or half hour of rising is no big deal. Heck, even an extra hour or two may not be disastrous (even if your dough "overproofs" you can often salvage the bread by punching it down and letting it rise again). So it's really not that hard to schedule bread baking into your day as long as you're spending at least half of the day at home (which sounds like my ideal weekend day anyway). I've found it's not so much about finding the time as it is about keeping my baby happy and occupied while I am attending to the bread.

For most of the kneading and baking this afternoon, I wore JR in the Ergo Baby Carrier, as shown above. Joe loves hanging out in the Ergo, as long as I keep moving and he has interesting things to look at. In fact, one of his favorite kitchen activities is watching the KitchenAid Stand Mixer knead dough (it is seriously cool - the dough responds like a living thing). So I often cook or bake with him in the Ergo on my back or hip. As a result, my Ergo is covered in smears of flour and butter.

The Ergo carrier is ideal for larger babies, because it puts the baby's weight on your lower back and hips, rather than your shoulders (unlike a Bjorn or sling - and no, they didn't pay me to say this, I just love my Ergo!). It can even be used to lug giant toddlers around. Little JR is not that little anymore - he weighs 22 pounds! So he's not toddling, but he's as big as many toddlers. And he loves to be carried! So bread baking doubles as a weight-bearing exercise for me, keeping me strong and fit.

With Joe attached to my person, I am definitely a bit encumbered, but I've become expert at managing dangerous operations with only one hand, like taking piping hot, fragrant, just-baked bread out of the oven! Don't try this at home, kids! That cookie sheet is hot!

And now that Joe loves to eat solid foods, he will often sit happily in the high chair nibbling on cheerios and other food while I putter in the kitchen. These days, I don't even bother with a bib, I just change his outfit three times a day (the kid needs mechanic's coveralls, or a hazmat suit, not a bib - check out that food-encrusted high chair! we washed that cover last week!). The dogs have learned that the high chair means treats, while Joe has learned that it is fun to drop food and watch the dogs eat it. Here is Omie, opportunistically sneaking a bite while Joe giggles in delight:

See? No superhuman (or supermaternal) abilities required. The reason I have been baking a lot of bread since Joe was born is that is cooking is actually a relatively baby-friendly hobby, and breadmaking is quite a bit more forgiving than other kinds of baking. And I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so other kinds of baking don't appeal to me as much (I make up for this with my love of beer and cheese; and I do love to bake scones). And of course, I like to pretend I'm a pioneer woman.

Okay, one more photo just because this kid is so dang cute (can you see that he has three teeth on the bottom, giving him a crooked smile?):


  1. Inder, what a fantastic blog post! Now I know your secrets. :) The photos are really wonderful, and they certainly showcase your impressive baby-and-bread-juggling talents. I had been meaning to ask you if you ever use the hip hold; now I see that you do. We actually tried Miles in the Ergo this morning, but I think he is still a little small for it? His head seemed to hardly peek over the top... Anyway, great blog, great photos, and FANTASTIC baby smile at the end.

  2. Aw, thank you! It was for you, you know! My housemate Rebecca saw your prior comment and said, while I was doing dishes with Joe in the Ergo, "You should blog about how it's really done!"

    Don't worry, you will get plenty of use out of the Ergo yet, even if Miles is still a bit small - it really comes into its own at about six months, when you can use the back and hip hold (which is initially confusing but good - easier than the back hold for getting the baby in and out).

  3. hahaha.....yeah i love these animals being opportunistic. I see crows surrounding my balcony most of the time and lookout for any bits and pieces that we may be willing to toss to them !

  4. Yeah, "opportunistic" is the nice word for it (that's not what Steve and I called it when Omie ate a third of our wedding cake at our wedding, because an unsuspecting person put the cake down on a chair!), but my baby thinks it's the funniest thing EVER.

    Circling crows - that sounds kind of gothic!


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