Friday, July 31, 2015

The Hancock News Column-- July 29, 2015

Before a baby is born, other than forming a baby bump on Mom, it’s nearly invisible. When somebody lays a hand on that belly bump, we say we can feel the baby kick, but honestly, we don’t know if what we feel is a kick, a punch or maybe even a hiccup. Likewise, when we glimpse images on an ultrasound screen, if we’re truthful, we usually can’t actually distinguish a nose from an elbow unless it’s pointed out to us.

Once that baby’s born, however, it goes from being invisible to being the center of the world. Baby cries, and Mom or Dad or both jump to attention. We call this cute wriggling bundle a baby, but really he is the boss.

The boss of my life for almost two years will soon be replaced. No, I’m not trading him in for a newer model, but a new baby will be taking his place as The Baby of the family. Sure, he’ll always be my baby, just as all of my children are still my babies, but in less than two months, he will no longer own the title of The Baby.

I was The Baby for the first ten years of my life, and when my nephew arrived to dethrone me, it was a tough adjustment. Maybe that’s why I feel guilt each time a new baby is about to be born, a certain empathy for the new big brother or sister.

As these last few weeks fill with preparations for the new baby, I find myself cherishing those last moments with the old model of The Baby. So, my Baby, here’s to you.


The Baby among wild blueberries

I love how you kiss Mommy and Daddy, wave bye-bye, toddle over to your toy car, and ride away across the living room.

I love how you talk on the "phone"–your chubby bare foot held up to your ear.

Although I must take it away, I admit I think it’s so cute when you run as fast as you can to grab the remote control whenever Daddy leaves it within your reach.

I love it when you have entire conversations with me, imitating grown-up gestures and inflections– all without saying a single intelligible word.

I look forward to each new word, but I love it when you say, "I, I!" instead of "Me, me!" If I need help unloading the dryer or the dishwasher, I can always count on you to say, "I, I!" Thank you for your willingness to help.

You exasperate me when you tell me you need a diaper change by bringing me a new diaper but then run away so I have to chase you to change it. And when you escape outdoors whenever somebody forgets to lock the door. And when you drink bath water until you burp. Or toilet water.

Your cute curls melt my heart.

But by far, what I cherish most about you right now is when your little baby hands pull me from the recliner to my feet and drag me into the bedroom when you’re ready for bed. Then you place those sweet hands on my cheeks, give me a kiss, and hug my neck so tight, as if you never want to let go.

And I wrap my arms around you and hold on tighter because you are so tangible and sweet and because for now, for just a few weeks more, you are still The Baby, and it’s so hard to let The Baby go.


Currently, The Baby loves his vegetables. He polishes off mountains of green beans, cucumbers, or cherry tomatoes whenever possible. We’re fortunate in that since right now we have mountains of fresh vegetables available– especially green beans.

While the baby likes to eat the green beans raw while we’re snapping them in the evening (or drop them on the floor for the dog to eat), he devours them by the plateful when I cook them like this. Once again, feel free to make this recipe your own. Add a few crushed red peppers if you like things spicy. Throw in a chopped up zucchini or yellow squash if you have one withering away on the counter. I’ve even added a few slices of fresh lemon to brighten things up– just discard the lemon before serving. Dill weed is a favorite of mine, especially the fresh stuff that keeps re-seeding itself in our garden.

Fresh and Tasty Green Beans

1 pound (give or take) fresh green beans, snapped
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. fat (butter, olive oil, or tastier bacon grease)
1 cup chicken broth (you can substitute water in a pinch)
1 tsp. salt (or less)
pepper, to taste

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, saute the onion in the fat for about 2 minutes. Throw in the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the green beans and cook for about a minute, until they turn bright green. Next add the chicken broth, salt, and pepper, give it a stir, turn the heat to low, and cover it with a lid, cooking for about 20-25 minutes until beans are tender. Uncover beans partially for the last few minutes of cooking time to let some of the liquid evaporate.

**This post has been shared at Strangers & Pilgrims at Home for The Art of Home-Making Mondays.


  1. Congratulations on your soon-to-be-born little one!

    The Baby sounds like a delight. My little one is a toddler now, and I keep wanting to savor all the sweet moments as time seems to be moving too quickly.

    1. Thank you, Amy. He (and his brothers and sisters) are truly a delight to me. Usually ;) Time does move too quickly; that's part of why I started writing more. . . my memory by itself is simply not sufficient!