Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Raising Future Dads: It’s A Boy

Stunned silence. It filled the room as only silence can. I lay there on that comfortable-as-burning-coals table, goop on my belly, ultrasound wand moving quickly away, everyone in that room taking a step away from me, as if it were choreographed.

I was pregnant again. It’s hard to say how many times I’d been pregnant before. IVF, cycle after vicious cycle, and pregnant every time. The first baby stopped developing. Second, a chemical pregnancy, not viable was all that mattered. Then twins and, after emergency surgery in the middle of the night with tornado sirens sounding and my husband out of town, a tube removal and two became one. But I had that one, my beautiful first child, a son.

Now, lying on this table in the first trimester of another pregnancy, I caught my first glimpse of my daughter. Followed by the aforementioned silence and stepping away routine.
“Go back” I demanded, breaking the silence.
“It’s not going to go away” the doctor calmly answered.
“But it looked like my daughter had a penis.”
“Congratulations, you’re having another boy.”

I never would have imagined it. I come from a family of girls. The first chapter played out in a house full of women: my mom, my sister and I. I was equipped to raise daughters.

And then I had a son.

This one was supposed to be my daughter, everyone knew that. Visions of dresses and pink bows being shot down by cargo-pants-wearing, water-gun-toting boys. Sexist, I know, but I’m a product of my generation and that’s how my mind processed the information. So the next chapter of my life would be inhabited by men. Karma. Of epic proportions.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore my boys. Always have (after the shock wore off). But raising boys? In this day and age? I really wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge.

Love them: I could handle that.
Nurture them:  got it covered.
Teach them right from wrong: no different from what I’d teach girls.
Morals and values: same.
How to be good MEN, future husbands and fathers: Ummm.

We all want our children to be strong and independent, to be productive, contributing members of society. But that means different things when raising boys as opposed to raising girls. It has to. The history of expectations associated with being one sex or the other dictates it. The ever-changing roles in current society require it.

I wouldn’t be doing this alone. But my husband worked long hours, traveled a week every month and we live 1500 miles away from ALL of our family. Those boys would spend the preponderance of their waking hours with me. Fact.

Raising Future Dads | www.BakingInATornado.com

From the time the boys came home from the hospital I got them up in the morning and into the kitchen for breakfast with Dad. They’d be asleep when he got home from work so family breakfast it would be. I still picture them, during the school years, sitting in a row at the kitchen counter eating breakfast together every morning.

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake

 Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake


When the boys got a little older, I started mowing the lawn. I wanted the boys to see that no jobs should be strictly “boy jobs” or “girl jobs”. But this was also about Dad time. I was cognizant of the fact that he was not just their dad but their primary male role model. In the warmer months my husband would come home from work, eat dinner and have to mow the lawn. If I mowed he could do bath time, splashes and soaked floor and giggles and all.

I’d love to tell you that there’s a magic bullet. It would be great to say that it was easy. But same sex or not, my boys are as different as two people get. What gets through to one escapes the other. They have temperaments and challenges and . . . well . . . personalities. I can tell you that I tried. Not just to teach them right from wrong, impart morals and values, but to show them what sympathy and empathy looks like; about serving their community, their family. But, as with most kids, a lot of that was accomplished because it was required and consequences were being avoided. Will those lessons stand?

My boys are teenagers now, both in college. Did I do my job? You’d think I could answer that but no such luck. You did read that word “teenagers”, right?

I look back and see all of my mistakes. I look at the present and see . . . well . . . teenagers. What will the future hold? All I can tell you is this: the potential is there. If they want to be good men, supportive spouses, present as fathers, they’re equipped.

So here I sit holding my breath. With my fingers crossed . . . and possibly my toes.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics



This post previously published as a Guest Post on Dads Round Table.

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
Printable Recipe
Ingredients, Crust:
3/4 stick butter, melted
½ cup + 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBSP baking cocoa
1 10 oz package chocolate shortbread cookies, crushed in a Food Processor
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
Ice Cream Layers:
1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) chocolate ice cream
½ cup of Toffee bits
Reserved 3/4 cup cookie crumbs
Whipped Cream:
½ cup heavy cream
2TBSP powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
*Set aside 3/4 cup of the crushed cookie crumbs.
*Mix melted butter, flour, sugar cocoa and the rest of the cookie crumbs until well blended. Your mixture will be dry and crumbly.
*Press this crust mixture firmly into the bottom and half way up the sides of your prepared springform pan.
*Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
*Grease and flour an 8 inch round cake pan.
*Beat softened butter, sugar eggs and vanilla until smooth.
*Mix in 1/2 cup of flour, then half of the chocolate syrup.
*Mix in the rest of the flour and the baking soda, then the rest of the chocolate syrup.
*Spread batter evenly into cake pan and bake for approximately 30 - 35 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch.
*Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to cool completely.
*Divide the ice cream into 2 bowls. Allow to start to come to room temperature, just enough to mix in ingredients but do not melt completely.
*Mix the toffee bits into one bowl of ice cream. Place in freezer.
*Mix the reserved cookie crumbs into the other bowl of ice cream. Carefully spread over the cooled crust. Top with the cooled cake layer, press down very gently and freeze for about one hour or until firm.
*After about 45 minutes, remove the second bowl of ice cream from the freezer and allow to come just to spreading consistency.
*Carefully spread this ice cream layer over the cake layer and return to the freezer until hard.
*Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Cover the top of the cake with the whipped cream. Decorate as desired. Return to freezer.
*Store cake in freezer. When ready to serve, allow to come to room temperature for a bit (or the crust will be too hard), remove sides of springform pan and slice.


  1. beautiful post and pic. I feel the same way, I want my guy to be a good man, husband, and dad. I want him to a great partner and teach his kids how to be respectful adults. I know I have a long way to go...but it all starts when they are young.

    I think you did a great job...they are both in college and will change the world!

    Holds out plate for a slice of cake.

    1. AJ will do great, Karen, you and your Hubs are great examples of being good parents.

  2. First of all Yummy. Ice cream is my favorite food so used with anything is my idea of a dessert! It looks fantastic. Second of all you equipped the boys for a life seeing a woman as an independent role model!

    1. I hope so, so much of parenthood is what you do and say but there's also that other piece, how much they internalize.

  3. Oh, yeah. I can remember being scared to death with my first 2 boys. I was an only child! I had NO idea what I was getting into. LOL
    Each one of my 5 is as different from one another as night and day. So funny how that works.

    1. You did get girls eventually but you're pretty brave having 5. I have 2 hands and 2 kids. That was all I could handle.

  4. I never wanted a son don't know why that is though and funny enough neither did Tim and we ended up with 3 girls, I remember when Jess was born people saying you going to try again for a boy..........no we were happy with what we had. I know as you know have two grandsons and two granddaughters they are all so different and so alike at the same time, I am one luck woman and I know it. I don't know if boys are easier or harder then girls to me they are just different

    1. No question but we always end up happy with exactly what we have, and even though I wanted a girl, I wouldn't change a thing.

  5. Ah, that all boys could be guided by your courage, determination, love and fine-ness. I think you will find that, as they leave those teen-aged years, you have raised courageous, determined, loving, fine men. Men who look to the example you have tried so hard to set for them. Men I'd love to introduce my granddaughters to! :)

    1. Wow, now that truly is the ultimate compliment. Thank you, Diane.


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