“Wow, good job, Austin! You’re a big boy now!”
We all cheered together as Austin took his first steps.
I joined in cheering, yet something within me felt like saying: “What? Not my baby! How can that be? He’s 11 months old. Where did his baby stage go?” I thank God to see Austin healthy and thriving, yet my mother heart can’t help but feel a little ache to see my little one entering the toddler stage already!
He’s definitely showing his boyish character in many ways. Last week he began doing something new. Undoubtedly it was the first of hundreds of times: He discovered how to push his toy loader across the floor.
I smiled as I watched him. Boys certainly aren’t like girls. Julia, 4, has always been the more timid type with a very easy-going nature. Even though Austin looks a lot like Julia did, at her age their characters differ quite dramatically. Whatever Austin does is usually done with all his might: Emptying contents from a box or a basket and throwing items into drawers are among his list of favorites. And, of course, anything that bangs or makes loud noises is quite impressive to him as well.
We have found his dramatic personality, along with a stronger nature, to also bring with it added challenges in the aspect of teaching him to give up his wants of the moment to what is required of him and learning prompt obedience to the word “no.”
For instance, learning to sit still in church has been a bit tough. There are times when it seems like he’s catching on and the next time I’m not sure how much progress has really been made! He seems to know when we’re visiting another church and without fail I have my figures full with an active little fellow who doesn’t have the least amount of interest in holding still.
Having practice sessions at home during prayer and devotions does seem to help. Yet it’s not like being in church for two to three hours.
On Sunday mornings, when we arrive at the home where church will be held that day, I generally take the children with me. That way my husband, Daniel, is free to unhitch the horse and tie her up. When we’re ready for the services, the ladies sit to one side with the men on the other. If Austin spots his daddy across the room, that’s all it takes to get him unglued. Waving his arms in delight he excitedly calls out: “Dada-Dada-Dada.” I try to discretely quiet him down a bit while I grab his little container with snacks (usually crackers) along with his sippy cup of water and a bib before taking him over to Daniel.
Julia also loves taking her turn sitting on Daddy’s lap. Occasionally they take naps during the service which is nice — that is, until Daniel and I are ready for our Sunday afternoon naps with our wide-awake darlings!
Sometimes the ministers also tell a story to the little children. I remember that when I was a little girl, that always meant a lot to me.
By the time we’re home from church with the horse and buggy, Austin is usually fast asleep (unless he just had his nap). He loves rides with horses and in no time it lulls him to sleep.
Julia does excellent in helping me entertain Austin on our days at home. She is all excited about his upcoming birthday. Today she got a pretend birthday present ready for him. Undoubtedly she’ll be just as thrilled or more with him having a birthday than he personally will be.
On our children’s first birthdays, we have a tradition of making a little birthday cake for them and allowing them to dig in and eat it with their fingers. I’m eager to see how Austin will respond to his cake. Daniel suggested making a spice cake for him. Austin really likes it, as do the rest of us. It’s a healthy cake and no one would ever guess the main ingredient to be beans!
The cake is loaded with both fiber and protein and won’t give you the “heavy” feeling, even after eating an extra piece. We prefer the sugar-free version, yet if you want to use sugar in place of Stevia you can. The cake is also gluten free.
One 15-ounce can of cooked black or pinto beans
Five large eggs
One tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
One tablespoon olive oil
One teaspoon Stevia powder (or ½ cup of sugar if you’d prefer to use sugar)
One teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon soda
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
1¾ teaspoons Allspice
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Six tablespoons almond meal
Rinse and drain beans. Place beans, three eggs, vanilla and salt in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Beat remaining ingredients together. Add bean mixture to spice mixture. Beat well.
Pour into a greased 9- by 9-inch pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
When cool, frost with your favorite icing or keep an eye open for next week’s column when I’ll share my sugar-free frosting recipe.
There are 32 copies of The Williams Guide to Amish Country still available. This is a complete compendium of lodging, dining and visitor information to Amish settlements across the USA. There are eight copies of “The Original Amish Cook Cookbook,” the 1993 cookbook with recipes and stories from Elizabeth Coblentz. Each book is $25, first come, first serve. Send payment to: Oasis Newsfeatures, P.O. Box 157, Middletown, OH 45042. Allow two weeks for delivery.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write to Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.