I stare at my kiddo a lot. He's adorable; how could you not? This morning I was staring at him and wondering what he's going to be like when he grows up, what kind of character he will develop. I know all parents want things for their children. They want them to be smart, happy, successful, better off than they are. This morning I thought about what I want for my son.
I want my child to be curious. Curiosity leads to questions and questions lead to problem solving and creativity and knowing things. All those eventually lead to intelligence and understanding. All of the smartest people I know are also very curious (with maybe the exception of George, who was a good little monkey, haha). I hope that my child will to want to know everything, to be interested in the world around him, and to constantly ask questions: why is the sky blue, how much water will the bath tub hold, who invented the refrigerator, what is the difference between baking soda and baking powder, where do butterflies come from, when do the red crabs make their migration across Christmas Island...everything. Wanting to know everything is the first step toward actually knowing everything. Or at least enough to make you happy.
I want my child to be engaged. So many preteens and teenagers disengage from the world around them and retreat into their own small shells. At that age, it's easy to sit at home and stare at a television or a cell phone or a computer screen. It's easy to ignore the people around you, be it your parents or your teachers or your peers. The real challenge comes from interacting with and experiencing the world to its and your fullest potential. I hope he looks around himself and sees the beauty and the opportunity in the world, and that when he experiences frustration and sorrow, he has the character and hope to work through it and not lose touch with what is good in life. This is the surest path to happiness.
I want my child to be kind. There is enough sadness and sorrow and meanness in the world, and not nearly enough kindness. Kindness to strangers, to friends, to family and to himself - all are equally important. I hope that when he looks at other people and in the mirror, he does so with eyes that see the good and the beauty in others, a heart that knows faith and hope, and hands that reach out to other people to help and never to hurt.
I want my child to know that he is loved, and to be secure in that love that surrounds him. I want him to experience as many hugs and kisses and fun and fresh-from-the-oven cookies as he can handle. Especially cookies. Because what else do warm caramel chocolate chip blondie cookies say but "I love you more than anything"?
Caramel Chocolate Chip Blondies
(from Baking Basics by KitchenAid)
Note: If you were really awesome, you could make homemade caramel sauce. Let's all remember my disastrous adventures with caramel and you'll see why I used the store bought kind. ;-)
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
Time and temperature: 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes
Preheat your oven to 350 and spray a 13x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray (or line with parchment paper). Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla until well blended. Add the flour mixture slowly and stir until well combined. Add the chocolate chunks until just mixed. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the caramel sauce over the batter and swirl into the batter with a knife or spoon. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with love.