Maeve turned three last August. These days, she seems to change without me or her dad noticing. Every now and then she makes me stop in my tracks and admire the little human being she is becoming.
Last night over dinner, she started to sing a song. This in itself is not unusual – she is constantly singing. The song choice wasn’t even surprising. She has been regaling us with Christmas carols since November, and Christmas being over for weeks has done nothing to stop her from singing them. It was the language in which she was singing that made me pause and ponder.
She was singing Away in a Manger in Irish. My little baby. Broken, badly mispronounced Irish, but Irish nonetheless. I thought she was singing in gibberish – Pat corrected me. I knew her playschool teachers had been teaching the students some Irish words, but I thought “bed” and “tree” were the bulk.
I am so proud. Not just of her, but of our community. Our local school is extremely small and fights for numbers as the population dwindles but it has great staff and a fabulous playschool attached. Maeve races in every morning and barely stops to say goodbye.
She has learned so much from her patient, gentle teachers. At three, she has become a truly integrated member of society – a society I didn’t even know existed ten years ago. It makes me really happy.
OK, maybe having her back at playschool five days a week after a long, shack-happy Christmas break makes me happy, too. Gotta stay honest.
Anyway, yesterday was her first day back. When she got home, I asked her if she wanted to do some baking. I already knew her answer. She always wants to do some baking.
She asked if we had any chocolate chips for cookies. We didn’t; we had something even better. I had reorganized our massive bookshelf while she was in school (I know!) and found THREE WHOLE BARS of Belgian milk chocolate I had purchased on my weekend away in Brussels that we had somehow forgotten to eat (I know). Coarsely chopped, the creamy, aromatic chocolate was perfect for our chewy cookies.
But, you know. Chocolate chips are fine, too. If you can’t get to Belgium.
In other news, cookies are a great way to introduce your small child to baking. Mostly because:
- It’s really difficult to screw up a cookie. Even when they’re bad, they’re still good.
- If the child wants to mix, mix, mix, you won’t end up with a tough, overworked mess. Cookie dough is very forgiving.
- Cookies taste good. Everyone likes ’em.
- If your kid insists on cracking the eggs herself, you can pick half a shattered eggshell out of cookie dough more easily than, say, cake batter (half the batch eaten and we haven’t found any pieces yet!).
eating chocolate overseeing the cookie-baking from her highchair, in case you were wondering. She’s a tough boss, but luckily she approved of the final product.
Simple Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1 cup/250g softened butter
1 cup/250g soft brown sugar
1/2 cup/125g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup/250g rolled oats
2.5 cups/625g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
1 cup/250g chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 375∘ F (190∘C). No fan. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cream the softened butter with the brown and white sugar. You want the butter to be completely combined with the sugars.
- Add the vanilla and eggs. Mix until well combined.
- Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix. The dough will be slightly sticky, but if you think it’s too sticky you can add more flour (if you like a more robust cookie – I like mine thin and chewy).
- Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.
- Drop cookie dough by the spoonful onto the baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Cool baked cookies on a wire rack before eating. They’ll keep for days (but definitely won’t last long if your husband, father-in-law and children are anything like mine). You can freeze them, too – they’re great homemade treats to add to lunchboxes!