My baby is turning 3 this week. My baby. Wow. That’s a difficult statement to make because I have a baby in my belly… but I just had my first baby…Didn’t I?
It will definitely sound cliche but it honestly seems like yesterday that my husband and I sat by his incubator watching his heart rate and breathing numbers go up and down. Asking the nurses and doctors when we could take him home. When they could feed him. Something. Anything. When I could nurse him. When I could hold him.
You can look at him now and never guess he was early. Everything about this child screams linebacker. He’s got my daddy’s extra large head and my killer legs. (And by killer, I mean they could literally strangle someone and therefore kill them in a matter of seconds.)
He’s a strong boy and a good boy, and a sweet, kind, generous and beautiful boy. He is the light of my day, and my world has completely centered around him for over 3 years. He has gone everywhere with me and done everything with me.
My son looks up to his father so much, he follows him around the house, can’t wait to show him his lego towers he made while he was at the office, mimics him when he’s doing yard work. It’s such a joy for me to watch them together.
I feel like I’m around my son so much, touching him so much that when I get the chance to sit back and watch him with somebody else I just want to sit there and marvel at him. I notice things that I never noticed before.
That’s why I think our children grow up so fast before our eyes, because we’re right there with them, on the floor playing with them, holding them, and then one day we sit back and take a look and realize they’ve changed. We feel like we’ve missed something. But we haven’t. We were there all along, we had a front row seat to this incredible journey.
Every year on his birthday I get nostalgic like this, I want to look back on old photos and I want to watch old videos. I think this year is especially hard because I know that next year everything in our lives will change. We will welcome a baby girl into our family and although I know I will never lose any love for my first child, I do know that there will be a shift in my priorities. I think that scares me a little. I think I wonder how I will ever be capable of loving another being half as much as I love my son. But I also know that I will. We will be a happy family of 4. A perfect, symmetrical team. But for now, I just want to roll around in this bliss for a little bit longer…
The other day I asked my son what he wanted for his birthday dinner and I swear to you, this is the menu that he selected, without the help of his mother. He wants Pork, Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Broccoli, Carrots, and then Brownies and Ice cream ‘all mixed together’. I was quite proud of the fact that he created a well balanced meal.
So I will roast a pork loin over a ‘rack’ of diced mirepoix and then make a pan sauce out of the drippings. I will make mac ‘n’ cheese with whole wheat pasta wheels and pureed sweet potatoes with gruyere and cheddar cheese. I will saute some broccoli and carrots. And I will make the ultimate 3 year old dessert. I will make dark chocolate brownies with his favorite m&m’s baked inside and serve it with the homemade Oreo ice cream I have waiting in the freezer. I’ll get to watch him blow out a candle for the third time and then I will squeeze him so tight that he will squeal.
*The Best Oreo Ice Cream You Will Ever Taste
-In a medium saucepan, combine 3 cups of half and half with 3/4 cup of sugar and several pinches of kosher salt.
-Bring this to an almost simmer and then turn the heat off.
-In a small cup, empty the contents of 1 package of plain, unflavored gelatin and add a little bit of cold water. Stir to dissolve and allow to sit for about 3 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom.
-Stir the bloomed gelatin/water mixture into the hot milk mixture along with a good splash of vanilla extract and transfer to a glass bowl.
-Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow to completely chill before churning in your ice cream maker. You can speed up this process by placing the bowl of ice cream base in another, larger bowl of ice before placing in the fridge.
-Follow the manufacturers directions for your ice cream machine and once your ice cream has reached a ‘soft serve’ state, transfer to a freezer-safe container and stir in several handfuls of hand-crushed Oreo cookies.
-Freeze for at least an hour before serving. This will keep well for a long time in your fridge as long as you keep plastic wrap pressed down on top of the ice cream itself to prevent ice crystals from forming.