Thoughts of a fruitcake: half-baked ideas on chicken salvation - by Carolyn Aldis

Carolyn Aldis celebrates childhood innocence.
Carolyn Aldis celebrates childhood innocence.
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So, last week, as part of my home educating, I decided to kill two birds with one stone ... I needed to bake some cakes for a coffee morning and got Daisy to give me a hand.

We spent a good 20 minutes setting up, stuff that usually takes me five, but after getting aprons, washing hands, putting our hair up, washing our hands again, putting Blousey in another room, washing our hands again and rooting around the cupboards looking for cake tins, we finally got started.

Life would be far sweeter if children’s ideas and solutions were real, if life was approached with a childlike faith in the impossible.

Daisy read the recipe and weighed out the sugar, margarine and flour and put them into the bowl. So far so good.

Then it was time to put the eggs in, something that Daisy loves doing…the whack against the side of the bowl, the ooze as it slides out, the thrill of a bit of shell escaping and the glory when that piece of shell is dragged kicking and screaming up the side of the bowl and into the bin ...

Well, that’s how I see it, anyway...

Daisy was counting out the number of eggs we would need, when she stopped and looked intently at one. There followed this conversation:

“Mum, look. This one has got a feather on it!”

“Oh, that’s nice.”

“Mum, we need to get this warm.”


I was suddenly aware that Daisy was in the hallway and went through to find her kneeling next to a pile of blankets; in the centre was the egg.

“Look Mum, I’ve called her Lucky ... if I keep her warm, she can hatch into a chick!”

I had to smile before gently explaining that it wasn’t possible for ‘Lucky’ to hatch and, not wanting to go into too much detail, mainly because I’m not 100 per cent sure of the biology of a chicken, just said we really needed to get on.

She came back and started cracking the eggs one by one, adamant that ‘Lucky’ should not be used ... it probably didn’t help that I drew a face on it ...

In the end, Lucky’s fate was decided for us – my worktop is wonky and she rolled rather tragically off the side and smashed onto the lino below; Daisy thought it was hilarious and terrible in equal parts ... I got told off for laughing.

While the cakes were baking, I got to thinking about Daisy’s innocent idea ... why couldn’t it be simple to hatch a chick just by taking an egg and keeping it warm? Why couldn’t the dead butterfly she found be revived by her breathing on it? Why, when I was her age and found a frog dried up in the sun, why couldn’t it be revived by me putting it in a bucket of water?

Life would be far sweeter if children’s ideas and solutions were real, if life was approached with a childlike faith in the impossible.

That’s what makes the ideas so wonderful ... though impossible, they reveal the heart behind the action, showing how our little ones feel empathy, wanting to make everything better.

I’ve spent all weekend researching the reproduction of chickens, as part of a topic for Daisy.

Education doesn’t come cheep ...