June 14, 2012

TGIF, and Bringing Up Bebe

Henry and his cake

With the end of school and the first official day of summer just around the corner, the vibe has already relaxed around our house. But we’re left with a bit of time to fill, so H. and I have been experimenting in the kitchen during Little Lou’s post-pool naps as the baby man sits and gurgles at us. All this week—our first official, full week off from school—we’ve started and tossed a sourdough starter and whipped up some delish crème fraiche to top off H’s first (mostly) solo cake.

Yogurt cake

I read Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting a few weeks back and wanted to try the yogurt cake recipe. H. and I already love cooking together, but Bringing Up Bebe points out that baking helps kids feel a sense of accomplishment and teaches deferred gratification (the book extols the benefits of teaching children to wait and be patient). The recipe uses the yogurt cups as the main form of measurement, so babes can easily whip up the cake on their own. It was a blast to act as baker’s assistant and Huck is beyond thrilled to be taking a cake he made all by himself to our Friday play date. It’s also super yummy and I actually learned how to make crème fraiche, which is way easy and much more tasty than store-bought.

As for the book itself, I was intrigued by a lot of the ideas in Bringing Up Bebe, but in short, this is a love/hate book for me. Love the idea of getting kids to sleep through the night, teaching our kids to be more patient and independent, assimilating children into adult culture rather than the reverse, providing a strong framework and relaxing our expectations of ourselves as super-parents who always put the kids first. Hate that so much of what is possible in French parenting is perhaps less so here: it’s probably a lot easier to make yourself, your career and your relationship a priority (and stay calm!) when you have access to free childcare, five weeks of paid vacation, unlimited sick leave and an actual 40-hour work week. So, I’m struggling a bit with its relevance in American culture and whether in fact I should just move to France.

I thought the sourdough idea from Monday’s Mom Street Style might be fun, and it was, until it started smelling and I realized I’d basically taken on responsibility for yet another living thing. I can barely remember to feed the dog, let alone a fermenting lump of dough on my windowsill, so I guiltily dumped it in the trash. I’ll revisit in fall when school’s back on and the weather is cooler.

Apparently I’m obsessed with food right now, because I became absolutely giddy when I saw this on Pinterest the other day: hash browns in the waffle iron. Total. Genius.

OK, but to get back to to style.  I am droolng over FabSugar's Summer Street Style roundup.  It's a must read for sure, Mamas! 

- M.

4 Comments
  • Lyn
    June 15, 2012

    I felt that same love/hate with that book…who’s up for moving to france?! Me! That’s who!

  • Clare
    June 15, 2012

    Yes, but French breastfeeding rates are very low. And most mothers work outside the home.
    I did like that the French have no word for MILF, since they assume a woman *should* be sexy.

  • Blissmamaof3
    June 16, 2012

    I think there’s a lot of good advice there, loved the book actually, but it’s not all applicable to parenting in the US. I’m reading French Kids Eat Everything right now hoping for some more advice.

  • Maria
    June 17, 2012

    I’ve lived in France for seven years now and can assure you that the book is full of misinformation. Childcare is not free here, except for the very poorest of families. However, childcare is much cheaper here and there are numerous support services designed to make working and raising kids manageable.
    And while French children may have better table manners than their American counterparts, they are naturally just as prone to mischief and temper tantrums.

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