We had a nine-year-old over for a play date today and something traumatic dawned on me: I am so not cool.
The glory of having kids who are still relatively little is that they have no idea how out of touch we are. They don’t really care about being cool or hip or whatever it is. They just care about the possibility of eating candy before lunch and knowing when Daddy is coming home. I’ve been breezing by on this free ride with a vague understanding of Paw Patrol and Littlest Pet Shop without having to worry about whatever’s currently flowing through the zeitgeist of the pre-teen world.
Case in point, I just asked my husband, “What are kids into these days?”
“I dunno. Minecraft?”
“What about Snapchat?”
“I think that’s more university age kids… but maybe younger kids use it? I have no idea.”
Luke, the husband, always said he would know when he was out of touch when he stopped recognizing the people in the supermarket tabloids. That happened for me when the Kardashians came onto the scene. I’m still not entirely sure what their deal is. They’re famous because they’re famous? Or is it because one of them is handy with a video camera? Are they still even famous or have we moved on?
I’ve only just recently started feeling microscopically cool within my own age group, let alone trying to figure out what’s socially current to a kid who’s been alive for less than a decade. I’ve owned my espresso maker for longer than that. So instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, or understand what the new wheel is, we did what the three-year-old wanted to do: bake shortbread cookies.
This makes me sound like a wonderfully wholesome mother. Trust me, it was not my first choice. It’s messy and fraught with technical difficulties. Everyone’s dough was rolled out to a different thickness, meaning everyone’s cookies baked at different speeds, and the three-year-old kept cutting out shapes on the same patch of dough then freaking out that his cookies looked like shredded cheese. It also results in children eating copious amounts of sugar while dropping copious amounts of crap on the floor. But, it keeps everyone occupied and in one place for an hour. You take the good with the bad.
The nine-year-old seemed to enjoy baking and left quite happily with her box of cookies, but not before taking over the Apple Music playlist and introducing us to some Katy Perry songs we hadn’t heard and Adele. Yes, I am likely the only woman over 40 who has never listened to an entire Adele album. I will refer you back to the part about me only recently coming out from underneath a rock.
I used a Betty Crocker recipe for the cookies. It was well-received, as any half pound of butter mixed with icing sugar should be. Despite the article that came out the other day about cookie dough being bad for you, I let my kids taste a bit. Judah then questioned the need for baking it at all and demanded the right to embrace the raw food movement on his batch of dough. His request was denied.
Shortbread Cookies, according to Betty Crocker
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract (I didn’t have any. Oh well.)
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
Mix the first five ingredients together on medium speed until well blended. Add the rest until mixed. Cover the dough and put it in the fridge for two hours. Prepare to answer the question, “Is the dough ready yet” every two minutes for the next two hours. Steel yourself.
Roll out dough to a quarter inch thick and cut out shapes. Bake at 375˚F for 8 or 9 minutes or until the edges are brown. Or bake some for 6 minutes and others for 10, depending on how well your bakers use a rolling pin.
For the icing, mix two cups of powdered sugar with a splash of vanilla and a few tablespoons of water until you have something resembling icing. We added some purple food dye (horrors) and I put it in ziplock bags (more horrors) with the corner cut out so they could squeeze it onto their cookies or, in Judah’s case, directly into his mouth.