Are you pregnant?…nope, just fat

Soon after one is married, almost everyone starts to ask the dreaded question, “when are you having kids?” You gain a little weight and people jump with excitement because they think you are WITH child…nope, just WITH cheeseburger. Every time you say you are nauseous every person tells you, “must be pregnant” or maybe I just don’t feel good?
My husband and I fall into the non-breeding category. We are child free by choice. Which is something many a person can not get a handle on. When I tell people I am not having children they give me a sad look and usually tell me, “there’s always adoption”. There is, just not for me. It’s not that I can’t have them, I don’t want to have them. I’m all for everyone else having them, don’t get me wrong. Have as many as you like. I’m just not of me having them is all.
One of the greatest things my mother ever said to me was that though she loved me dearly she was quite sure that her and my father could have lived a full and happy life without kids and so could I. Some people would cringe that their mother would dare say that. I didn’t take that as a bad thing, but as a very freeing thing. I never had the produce us a grand child thing hanging over my head.
It was worse when I was a teacher. Fellow teachers could not believe I didn’t want to have kids. But you love kids. No, I love teaching kids, there is a difference. Plus, I taught junior high. You want to talk about fantastic birth control…try a 13 year old(or more like try 120 of em a day). I was never maternal to begin with. I don’t coo over babies. There are some down right ugly ones(there I said it…and yes, I mean it). There are some darn cute ones too. When my friends have babies I’m the one standing in the corner not huddling around the baby.
A few years back Ann Lander’s wrote her now famous “The Childless Couple” which is pretty much what I refer people to when they get on my case about not wanting to have children.

“There is nothing sadder than a childless couple. It breaks my heart to see them relaxing around swimming pools in Florida, sitting all suntanned and miserable on the decks of their boats — trotting off to Europe like lonesome fools. It’s an empty life. Nothing but money to spend, more time to enjoy and a whole lot less to worry about.
The poor childless couple are so wrapped up in themselves, you have to feel sorry for them. They don’t fight over the child’s discipline, don’t blame each other for the child’s most obnoxious characteristics, and they miss all the fun of doing without for the child’s sake. They just go along, doing whatever they want, buying what they want and liking each other. It’s a pretty pathetic picture.
Everyone should have children. No one should be allowed to escape the wonderful experience that accompanies each stage in the development of the young — the happy memories of sleepless nights, coughing spells, tantrums, diaper rash, debts, “dipso” baby sitters, saturated mattresses, emergencies and never-ending crises.
How dismal is the peaceful home without the constant childish problems that make a well-rounded life and an early breakdown; the tender, thoughtful discussions when the report card reveals the progeny to be one step below a moron; the end-of-the-day reunions with all the joyful happenings recited like well-placed blows to the temples.
Children are worth it. Every moment of anxiety, every sacrifice, every complete collapse pays off as a fine, sturdy adolescent is reached. The feeling of reward the first time you took the boy hunting — he didn’t mean to shoot you, the lad was excited. Remember how he cried? How sorry he was? And how much better you felt after the blood transfusion? These are the times a man with a growing son treasures — memories that are captured forever in the heart and the limp.
Think back to the night of romantic adventure when your budding daughter eloped with the village idiot. What childless couple ever shared in the stark realism of that drama? Aren’t you a better man for having lived richly, fully, acquiring that tic in your left eye? Could a woman without children touch the strength and heroism of your wife as she tried to fling herself out of the bedroom window?
The childless couple live in a vacuum. They fill their lonely days with golf, vacation trips, dinner dates, civic affairs, tranquility, leisure and entertainment. There is a terrifying emptiness without children, but the childless couple are too comfortable to know it.
You just have to look at them to see what the years have done: He looks boyish, unlined and rested; she’s slim, well-groomed and youthful. It isn’t natural. If they had had kids, they’d look like the rest of us — worn out, wrinkled and exhausted.”

What on Earth can any of this do with Tahitian vanilla beans? Well, see those Tahitian vanilla beans were brought to me from Tahiti. From one of my many other child free by choicer friends. Out enjoying what would be their child’s college fund by going to Tahiti. Rough eh?
I chose to use just a simple sugar cookie to show off the flavor of the beans. I felt if I went to complicated the flavor would just get lost and then what is the point of having Tahitian vanilla beans. And whatever you do, don’t discard your beans pods when you are done with them. Use them to make vanilla sugar. It is wonderful stuff.
Oh and if you are feeling sorry for my parents for me not producing them a grandchild, no worries, my brothers have given them 5. So thanks to my brothers for covering that for me. ;)

Tahitian Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
3 Tahitian vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped out
1 egg
½ tsp cream of tarter
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
coarse sugar for decoration

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add in the vanilla bean seeds and beat for another 30 seconds.
Add in egg and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 30 seconds.
Sift together flour, cream of tarter and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until incorporated.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass(you may want to grease it to avoid sticking) press down to make cookie flat. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake at 350F for 8-9 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes and them move to wire rack to completely cool.

Adapted from Caprial’s Desserts by Caprial Pence

Vanilla Sugar

1 vanilla bean, whole or scraped
2 cups granulated sugar

If vanilla bean is whole, slice down side of bean with back of knife and scrape seeds into airtight container with the sugar. Bury bean in sugar and seal tightly with lid. Let sit for 1 to 2 weeks. Use as regular, granulated sugar.

Comments

  1. I have a whole bunch of Tahitian Vanilla beans that I’ve been wondering what to do with them! I love sugar cookies so this looks like a great pairing with the Tahitian Vanilla Bean. Great recipe Peabody!

  2. I love the title of this post… and vanilla beans. It’s a winning combo really.

  3. My personal opinion is that all the heartache would be worth it– it’s just my own inadequacy that worries me, that I would be letting the kid down. As for my parents, well I made sure that they needn’t have worried about high tuition fees ;)
    I love the speckling of the cookies that can only come from true blue vanilla, that just pushes them into the realm of decadence :)

  4. sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet!! I wish I had Tahitian vanilla beans (flown in FROM Tahiti). Those specks on the cookies look great – this one definitely needs to go on Tastespotting ; ) NO WAY it’ll get rejected!!

  5. My new DIL and son are in no hurry to have children, if they decide to have them at all. She, like you, does not have that maternal longing. I personally, wanted my children – but have no need to have grandchildren. If they come, they come….but if they don’t, I won’t be heartbroken. This world is a hard place to live in as it is. Who knows, if I were 20 years younger and of child bearing age, I just may be deciding to be childless myself in this day and age. Kudos to you!

    Now, about the cookies…They look delicious! AND are beautiful…loving the photos!

  6. Peabody – you spoke to my heart! Not only am I childless by choice – I’m also unmarried to my boyfriend of 8 years (by choice and financial restrictions). I never hear the end of it. When I say I’m not going to have kids, everyone always says, “Well, you’re young, you just don’t know what you want yet.” Oh, I’m so pleased that you know me well enough to tell me what I want!

    I’m also a teacher, but with high school kids. I’m always telling people it’s the best birth control, so it was so funny that you said that! Every other female teacher either has kids, or wants them desperately. It makes me feel excluded, but worse, looked down upon for not wanting to add to the population problem. All of those things described in that Ann Landers quote are things I most assuredly do not want, especially the debt! How wonderful that your friends are able to go to Tahiti!

    BTW – that is my favorite title. EVER!

  7. A most excellent post if I may say so.

    I’ll need to try the recipe too :D

  8. Ahhh, yes. I know so many people that can’t handle it when a couple in our circle gets married and decide against children. Why bring children into the world if you aren’t fully wanting them? Who decides that people must procreate? I don’t get it. I completely understand your position (And for what it’s worth, I have children.)

    As for the cookies, they sounds delicious.

  9. Tahitian vanilla beans, oh you lucky dog you!

    I didn’t have people asking me if I was pregnant after I got married…but then, I got married when I was 50! ;)

    You know, there are lots of people out there having kids, the human race is not in danger of extinction, at least not for lack of children! I have great admiration for those who take the job of parenting and do their best at it — I was always convinced I would make a terrible mess of it.

  10. Your posts make me happy.

    So do your cookies.

  11. Great looking cookies and very good post. You know what you want and you are not afraid to say it. Live your life for you and enjoy every minute of it!

  12. hahhaa. i laughed at the “with cheeseburger” comment :)

    those cookies are a great use of the vanilla. i feel sad reading your blog because we honeymooned in tahiti…and i was not a real foodie back then so i did not know the true value of tahitian vanilla and did not bring any back from there :(

  13. Angielala says:

    I loved this post! I feel better knowing I’m not the only woman born without a maternal instinct. Being a woman who doesn’t want kids separates us from so many other women, but I know I have to be true to myself. Thank you for putting it all into words so well!

    And the cookies sound wonderful… I’ll try them soon

  14. Anon for now says:

    Usually I post with my name, but not today. I agree with so much of what you say, but how wonderful for you that your family is so supportive – my parents literally think I’m going to hell for not having children, which is, apparently, my DUTY as a WOMAN. Don’t get me started.

  15. I love being a mom (most of the time) but fully appreciate that you have chosen a different path…and it’s a great one, too.
    When my sister was most upset with her kids, she used to yell “tubal ligation” over and over…they never understood, but soon she and her hubby were rolling on the floor with laughter…and tears. That usually stopped the kids in their tracks. Think of all the yelling you don’t have to do. Your mom is wise.
    Let me know when y’all go to Tahiti…I could use some vanilla beans for cookies as great as these.

  16. Hah-le-FREAKING-lu-lah! Finally, SOMEONE who thinks the same way I do. More power to us happy, childless couples. :)

  17. these cookies look great!

    recently (and a few times in the past) the children at work (a preschool, they are 3) ask me if i have a baby in my tummy. i tell them no, i just eat too much food.

    i tell myself it must be because they are very short and their perspective is distorted, sigh.

  18. I have three little tots. Seeing how much time they take up, my mind boggles at the idea of being able to do something else with that time. I imagine I would have the energy and the sharpness of brain required to solve the Middle East crisis. Which is not far from what I have to do around here when there’s only one pink cup around or one unbroken cracker in a box full of broken ones. But truth be told, besides the fact that I kind of like these kids (!), if I didn’t have them around I know I would just be spending all my free time blogging… and leaving long useless comments other people’s blogs.
    Oops.

  19. I’m glad my childlessness can still provide a service to the world. Your food porn will be my legacy Pea. ;)

    I only wish I had brought back a few more beans! I would say that I have go back, but I think I’m going to put my non-existent children’s orthodontics fund on a cruise through the Panama Canal.

  20. I’m sorry to blather so long, but I have to add: when I finished typing the above comment, I looked down to see my youngest had just emptied the garbage can and spread the remains of a yogurt jar all over herself and the kitchen floor. Seriously, you’re missing out! (-;

  21. Hi – I’ve been reading your blog for awhile but am now just getting around to commenting. This post really rang true to me. I am married and still not sure that I want kids…at least not anytime soon. I’ve been married nearly 5 years and will be 30 this year so the “when are you having kids” question is asked quite frequently. All of my married friends have kids, are preggers or are trying. Talk about peer pressure. I’m not in a hurry to give up the lifestyle of buying what I want (most of the time) traveling around Europe (I live in Italy) or give up my uncluttered house. I love kids, but I also love being able to send them to their parents when they cry, stink, etc. :) Thanks for the great post! The cookies look awesome too!

  22. We went to Tahiti on our honeymoon and I did not know I was supposed to pick up vanilla bean? Sigh.
    Mr. L and I are childless. Yes, we could adopt, but we have our friends children to spoil when we need a “child” fix :)

  23. I love sugar cookies, those look lovely.
    And having kids (or not)is a personal decision, nothing to do with anyone else.
    It’s a shame some folks feel the need to interfere about it.

  24. I feel like you… I don’t want to have kids, although I don’t hate them. And, my life isn’t empty!!! As a matter of fact, I would have no time to take care of children! A bad reason to make children is because one has to fill his/her empty life! People should make children for other, deeper reasons. It is a big responsability as you have to be totally dedicated to them… If some people understood this, there’d be less unhappy children around the world!

    Great cookies! Very pretty!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  25. I am also childless by choice. We did it for the expendable income and because the dogs are enough trouble as it is. This was an excellent post!

  26. The title of your post is the exact conversation a friend of mine had with someone that she had JUST met. People: unless you know for sure, don’t ask a woman if she’s pregnant!

  27. Yeah, that’s just ridiculous. Falls into the same category of the people in Iowa who ask “so, are you married? Engaged?” (the marriage rate is incredibly high here, and most people marry at 20 to 22). “Nope. I’m a lesbian.” “Oh… well you have a long term domestic partner then, right?” Uh, I’m twenty three years old. I’m in law school. Can’t I just be single the next year or ten? Thanks. And yeah, if I ever am in a super-long term relationship, I’m with you. I like kids fine, I just don’t want to be responsible for them 24 hours a day.

  28. the cookies look great peabody, i love the flecks of vanlla. there’s nothin wrong with not wanting kids, i see to many young people that have them that shouldn’t. but it sounds like your ready for anybody asking those questions, give em hell girl, politely of course.

  29. As a mother of 2, when my own daughter said “would it bother you a whole lot if we didn’t have children”, my answer was pretty quick – it doesn’t bother me at all. Do I feel completed as a woman because I had children – nope! Do I love my kids – of course. If I had to do it over again? – I’d think twice.

  30. I’m going to remember that “with cheeseburger” line. Is there anything so awful as someone asking if you’re pregnant when you’re not?!?

    The questions never stop; we have one child and always get questioned about why not more (I couldn’t) or who does he play with. A friend is pregnant with her third and is getting hassled about having too many. Sigh.

    Well..the cookies are gorgeous! I can almost taste them. :)

  31. As soon as I got married, I got the when are you having kids questions too. It’s really annoying, honestly. Anytime I’d feel sick, not even sick to my stomach, but just have a cough, coworkers would say maybe you’re pregnant! You know, because coughs and pregnancy go hand in hand. I’m going back to school now and I swear I am going to freak out when I start working again and people do this.

  32. Love the cookies.

    Bravo on being true to yourself, babies are like puppies..adorable and cuddly and then without any warning you have teenagers!

    Mother of 5, gray at 25 … three of my children have decided they will not have children .. my only regret is that they will not have a “teenager” in their life too.

    :)

  33. I think no one should ever ever ask a woman if she’s pregnant unless it’s too obvious! But like, 7 months preganant so they can’t be mistaken…
    My mother for example is one of those people who always get the wrong impression of a little tummy. For example our Pilates’ teacher was slightly overweight and once she was showing some pictures of her two years old kid to some of the Piolates ‘students whem my mum goes like “Is that an ultrasound of your baby?”. The worst thing was that I was with her!!!
    The cookies look great. Lovely pictures as usual :)

  34. I love this post. I’m not even married yet and people are already asking myself and my fiance when the little ones are on the way. Talk about putting the pressure on! We are off to Tahiti for our honeymoon though, so I’ll be sure to pick up some vanilla beans!

  35. Peabody: Excellent post. It really spoke to me. At 34, I am childless and will probably remain so. I have never felt the urge to be a parent, and at an age when most women are hearing that tick-tock, I certainly am NOT. My ex was an elementary school teacher. Whenever I went to his school, the words “tubal ligation” just screamed through my brain, so I really related to your story about being a junior high teacher!

  36. I plan on remaining childless as well (I have years to think about all this, haha; but that’s my feelings right now), so I definitely appreciated your post on this subject. And this part made me laugh out loud: “You gain a little weight and people jump with excitement because they think you are WITH child…nope, just WITH cheeseburger.” You always put a smile on my face, Peabody :0)

    Looove those cookies!!

  37. Loved this post so much! I feel the same way – the past several years I’ve became more and more against having kids, realizing that the life my husband and I are leading now – is the life I love. My husband, on the other hand, really wants children, so I think we’ll eventually have them after all :)

    Great looking cookies, by the way! :)

  38. well said!! I never had a maternal instinct towards anything but animals and sometimes my nieces, nephews and other people’s kids. When initially told people we weren’t having kids by choice, sometimes they asked why and I said I wasn’t a patient person and didn’t think I could be the person I should be to raise a child. They would argue that I would find patience once the child came. My answer was – what if it doesn’t? What a crappy, crappy experiment to perform on a kid. Family stopped asking and accepted that we were capable of making a big decision on our own

  39. I have been married for 3 1/2 years, my friend, and not a day goes by without that question… And when I say I’m not sure I want to have kids (more to the “don’t want to” than to the “do”, growing everyday) people say I must be kidding, I’m too young and I will change my mind. It’s pretty much the opposite: when I got married, I wanted kids. As my life grew so much better being only me and Joao, the thoughts began to escape my mind. I should translate this article (loved it!) and walk around with extra copies of it. :)
    I have lots of fun with my nieces and nephews, but when I’m done I go home and do the things I love with the hubby. There’s nothing better than that. ;)

    These cookies are fantastic, I can almost smell them from here. And the photos… Breathtaking!

  40. Oh, being raised without a mother around and by a father who made some really bad mistakes along the way and a stepmother who was useless all along doesn’t help either. My life now is the way I have always wanted it to be – calm and peaceful!

  41. Caldwell Price says:

    Those look amazing. I can’t wait to try them, but first to buy vanilla beans.

  42. Hooray for brothers! And these cookies!

    We’re newly wed-ish and I so totally love to screw with my sister-in-law about the whole preganancy thing (like I’d tell her anyway). Every so often I’ll just decided that I won’t be drinking at some family occasion. She’ll get all excited and start whispering that I’m pregnant. So I crack open a beer. It’s hillarious!

  43. Did Ann Landers really write that? Ick. How f*up. Like those all those childless people are really that sad. That was very arrogant of her to suppose such a thought, you know?
    Hubby and I are not having kids either, so there are actually a lot of us out there.
    Love those cookies, BTW. :-)

  44. yep, don’t you think it’s funny (in a sad way) those people who are always expecting other people to have kids and say it’s “unnatural” not having them? They should all come here to see it’s not that “unnatural” considering the number of people who think that way…
    My brother and (very-soon-to-be) sister-in-law are planning to be parents in the next year or two, and I’m very excited to know I’ll be having a nephew/niece… but as for me? No thanks. Love kids, but everyone else’s, that is… ;) Great post!

  45. Uh, Dawn… Landers was being sarcastic!

  46. I can’t wait to try these cookies. Too bad my childless self can’t make time in my empty life to pop over to Tahiti to get some vanilla. I’ll just have to make due.

    Landers didn’t actually write that. She only quoted it. It was satire piece written by someone else in the 50s.

  47. A older gay gentleman I once worked with used to say who should only ask a woman if she is pregant unless you are in the delivery room (well, he said it in a more funny more crass way). But, I definitely think people should never ask; and just accept that your life is your own choice.

    While not the exact same thing, I definitely feel empathy for you. We have one child and we get the endless don’t you want to have siblings for our child. As an only child (and wife to someone with mean siblings), I find it quite annoying. It is just stupid what people say, and I am glad you have a venue to tell people butt out and in a very funny way.

  48. *raises hand*… Same here!

    I used to think I wanted kids, but once I met my husband and got married, I changed my mind completely. He doesn’t want kids either. We do enjoy spoiling our neices and nephews, but we don’t want our own.

    I’m a teacher too, and it really is hard. I feel like I have to apologize or explain myself if I say no, we don’t want kids (and yes, I get asked constantly). Maybe that will be my resolution for the new school year: no apologizing for our decision.

  49. You _are_ my long lost twin ;D Child free by choice too, with never a maternal thought or urge since birth, as hard as that is for most people to believe. I am lucky that my family, at least, understands – both my mom and grandmother have said the exact same thing to me regarding the choice to have children versus not.

  50. You always hit the nail on the head. I also heard my mother say how much she loved and dearly wanted my brother and I but how she knew 100% her life would have been complete with just my dad. Like you said, others could misunderstand this as an insult, but I took it as a gift. The choice of how I define my family is mine, and I can be complete in any way I choose.

    Yummy cookies too. :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 2:46 pm Filed under: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody | Tags: cookies!, sugary, vanilla-beaned Tahitian vanilla sugar cookies and reasons to not have kids on Culinary Concoctions by [...]

  2. [...] you start seeing me get creative with Pop Tarts on here you know my grocery budget is shot. In my last post about being child free(btw…who knew there were so many of you non-breeders out there, I don’t feel so alone) [...]

  3. [...] Tahitian Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies (From: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody) [...]

  4. [...] My newest project with these fine beans is making some vanilla sugar for gifts around the holidays. Target was charging $1.99 for maybe 3 oz. of vanilla infused sugar, and with so many uses for it, I’m sure it will be a great gift for the coworkers…I love giving homemade items. Last year was truffles and pretzels (which I’ll probably continue anyway)…but I want to add vanilla sugar to the mix with some fun recipe ideas! I followed Culinary Concoctions proportions for the vanilla sugar in her post here. [...]

  5. [...] My newest project with these fine beans is making some vanilla sugar for gifts around the holidays. Target was charging $1.99 for maybe 3 oz. of vanilla infused sugar, and with so many uses for it, I’m sure it will be a great gift for the coworkers…I love giving homemade items. Last year was truffles and pretzels (which I’ll probably continue anyway)…but I want to add vanilla sugar to the mix with some fun recipe ideas! I followed Culinary Concoctions proportions for the vanilla sugar in her post here. [...]

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