Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Babies N Then

I have 3 nieces and a nephew, and they are no longer babies. And that is fine with me. Now, don't get all this-and-that about me being a baby-hater or something. Babies are cute and soft and smell wonderful/awful. The thought of having babies makes me get a little bit misty everytime. Babies cry and I just can't say no...babies scream and it's cute (unless you are their parent)...babies throw up a little bit and it's no big deal, it's not even called vomit, it goes by the cute/diminutive term spit up. But, I gotta be honest here, I don't know what to do with babies...hold them, look at them, smile, look at them some more, smile again...then wait until they start grade school when they have opinions and a sense of humor.

But that age can be a hazard as well, for those of us without small people in our daily lives. I remember talking to adults/family friends/distant relatives/the dentist when I was a kid. Short conversations mostly. They always asked what grade you were in. So you told them. Then they took a stab at what you might be learning in that grade ("So you must be working on fractions now? What do you think about them? Hehehe."). End of conversation. Of course, I was not the most outgoing kid in the world, so I am fairly certain that I did not hold up my end of the conversational agreement. Hey, I was shy, give me a break, I was a kid...and I was bad at math. As an uncle, I have tried to avoid that particular conversational black hole/grown-up nerd alert.

The next generation and I live in separate towns/states, so my interaction with them has been mostly on the phone, with an occasional short visit around a holiday/event. I am happy to report that they are better equipped to deal with adults than I was. They have interests, talents, conversational skills, and accomplishments that I honestly don't think I had at their ages. F'rinstance, Sally S. decided, when she was in kindergarten, that her favorite colors were brown and pink...and that was before Target designed a line of clothes featuring that palette. Joe J. is an honest-to-goodness world-class 6th grade. Miss M. wrote an award-winning essay on Darfur that took her to Washington. And Jackie L. is doing postgraduate work in math that uses symbols and logic that my temporal lobes do not recognize, let alone understand. I don't think this is merely uncle-pride talking here, I seriously think that evolution has occurred and genetic advances have been made...okay, maybe it is just uncle-pride, but (WARNING: old man statement ahead...) these kids seem to have it together more than did me and my friends at those ages. makes me hopeful. Hopeful that some lessons were learned during the past 40-some years and that knowledge is being passed on. Hopeful that not everyone in our future is represented by Reality TV/Fox News/Social Conservatism. And hopeful that the children of today will see a bigger/brighter picture than did the children of yesterday/the adults of today.
Another baby shower cake at work prompted this familial beaming. Shelly currently is on bedrest and is as big as a house, with a couple more weeks of largedom ahead of her. The cake I made for her baby shower, as per usual with me and cakes, underwent several last minute edits...some successful, others not so much. All in all, I would say that it was tasty but clunky-looking...less than elegant. But, the sour cream sugar cookies with which it was decorated were as cute as I had envisioned...Good luck Shelly, husband, and baby!!
Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Butter...........................1 1/2 cups
Sugar............................1 1/2 cups
Sour Cream....................1 cup
Baking Soda....................1/2 tsp
Baking Powder.................1 tsp
Vanilla Ex.......................1 Tblsp
AP Flour.........................6 cups
1. Cream together the butter and sugar.
2. Beat in the egg, sour cream, and vanilla.
3. Sift together the dry ingredients then add to butter mixture. Beat until combined thoroughly. Cover and let chill for at least 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350.
5. Roll approx. 1/4 inch thick and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
6. Bake 10-12 minutes.
7. Let cool; then decorate. (I used royal icing.)

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