Monday, November 18, 2013

Bat Mitzvah: Bringing Baby

by angus mcdiarmid
This weekend we had the opportunity to attend our cousin's Bat Mitzvah.  This was slightly untraditional for us, since it was a havdalah service, rather than reading from the Torah.  However, it was still a meaningful and joyous occasion, one which we were thrilled to celebrate together as a family.

Bringing EG, however, had it's complications.  It was nice because it was just around the corner, but difficult because she is still very little, and unable to sit still.  Because the event was at our normal temple, EG felt extremely comfortable and confident.  Including walking up on the bimah whenever she felt like it.  While cute before the ceremony began, a bit of a problem once the Bat Mitzvah girl got started.

So, we went to the lobby.  There was an adorable 20month old boy inattendance, so EG got to make a new friend, and enjoy running around with him.

Here are some tips for enjoying the festivities with a little one:

  1. Bring the baby to the ceremony.  Most temples are equipped to handle kids.  At Saturday morning services there is often a children's component, and even if there isn't, the real purpose of the event is the ceremony.  Don't skip it.  It's important to expose your child to different environments.  If you start when they are young, they will learn more quickly about behaving during these types of events. 

  2. If you don't have family, hire a babysitter.  This was my cousin's Bat Mitzvah, so lot sof hands to help hold EG.  If it hadn't have been, I would have hired someone (a mother's helper type) to come with us, and help keep an eye on EG.  That way we could have enjoyed more of the event, and interacted with everyone.

  3. Have a designated parent.  This is similar to my wine-tasting tips, but still important. Again, it could be a different parent throughout the event.  But it's really key to have one person both designated as the 'more sober one' and the 'officially watching' one. Many of these events have an open bar, and the parties can get pretty wild, so it's important to keep an eye on the littlest.

  4. Think carefully about the party, and when to leave. There are definitely some 'ceremony' type moments at the party.  The traditional thing seems to be the candle lighting moment, and you probably don't want to miss this.  At the same time the party will eventually turn into a dance moment for the 12/13 year old crowd.  Depending on where you are/how the little is doing, it might be the right time to bow out.
Hope you enjoy your next Bat Mitzvah.  And happiness and joy to our favorite Shoshana!

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