I have entered this stage in life called “All your friends are having babies”. It came a little sooner than I had anticipated, since the “All your friends are getting married” stage is still in full swing. And I am a little like, “Hey can you guys wait until the rest of us get married? Like, let us catch up before you move forward. Are we all sure we are ready for this???” But alas, the babies are coming one after the other. There is no stopping these babies.
This new stage means learning baby etiquette. Similar to wedding etiquette, there is this whole set of rules about what is polite and what is expected when it comes to expectant parents. I will let you in on what I have learned so far:
It starts with The Announcement – you can’t tell anyone you are preggers until you are through your first trimester. And when a friend tells you that they are indeed prego, keep it to yourself, cuz you don’t want to be ruining the surprise for anyone else. But its hard, cuz you are really excited too!!! And secrets are hard to keep… but don’t do it - keep a straight face and wait your turn.
Next, it’s the Showers. This one is similar to weddings; RSVP in a timely manner, offer to bring something, stick to the registry and no one gets hurt. Also if there are games involved, be a good sport, you may even get a prize. It may be baby themed prize, but hey, free stuff, no complaining – just eat your cake and muster as much enthusiasm as you can over baby gifts.
The Waiting Game. You are getting close to the big day. Be sure to check in on your friend and offer to help with whatever they need. They are likely uncomfortable and stuck in the house with no alcohol privileges, so don’t be bragging about your social life. Also, don’t take pictures of expectant Moms without permission. And tread lightly – these women could burst at any second.
The Delivery. You don’t have to do much here. Unless you are a very close friend you aren’t expected to go to the hospital. Just wait for texts and updates and spread the news. Offer your congratulations and be thankful everyone is healthy and has survived the messy miracle of birth.
Meeting the Baby. Offer to bring your friend dinner (more on this below) or wait to be invited to meet the baby. Once invited, make sure you are not sick (if you are sick, politely decline) and be sure you are as clean as possible. Prepare yourself to ooh and ahhh and remark on how cute the baby is and how much you like the name. Again, keep your real opinions to yourself and no one gets hurt. Ask general questions about the delivery, but don’t dig too deep here, you probably don’t want to know the answers.
Success – baby etiquette has ended. Enjoy having a baby in your life that won’t keep you up at night. Now you can return to treating these friends like normal - if you ever see them again.
But lets return to the post-baby dinner delivery. My friend Hannah and I were discussing this over the weekend because we both have dinners to deliver this week. Hannah text her sister (mother of 3) to ask what is the best food to eat when you are breast feeding? The answer: Fish. So we asked, what is second best? The answer: Broccoli. Ok, broccoli I am a little more comfortable delivering to someone’s house. But I asked my friend Jessica (mother of 2) and she said broccoli could give the baby gas (which equals crying and no sleeping for Mama) so, not too much broccoli. Jessica suggested anything bland, reiterated that fish is good, and no garlic. And also deliver the dish in something disposable. This is getting complicated…
Here is what I have decided upon – Chicken Divan. A simple, fairly bland recipe that involves some broccoli, some protein (chicken or turkey and I suppose you could use fish if you are sure the mother would enjoy it), and no garlic. It calls for a 12x8” pan, but I split it between two 8x8” disposable pans so they can eat one and freeze the other. I am going to deliver both without baking, but with directions attached to each to bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes so they can enjoy it fresh and warm ( I have been assured this is appropriate). Phew! – this baby stuff is crazy!
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
2 cups milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 boxes (9 oz. each) frozen broccoli
3 cups cubed chicken or turkey (I poached 2 breasts and 2 thighs)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In 2-quart saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and bouillon granules. Gradually stir in milk, cooking and stirring constantly with wire whisk, until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in mayonnaise and mustard until well blended.
2. In an ungreased 12x8-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish, arrange broccoli spears. Top with chicken. Spoon sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese.
3. In small bowl, mix topping ingredients; sprinkle over top. Bake about 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.