posted by Francie .
When 6-year old Melanie arrived home from school, she was the first to eat cookies from a freshly baked batch. When 8-year old Felipe arrived home, he ate twice as many cookies as Melanie had eaten. When 9-year old Hillary arrived home, she ate 3 fewer cookies than Felipe. When 12-year old Nicholas arrived, he ate 3 times as many cookies as Hillary. Nicholas left 2 cookies, one for each of his parents. If Nicholas had eaten only 5 cookies, there would have been 3 cookies for each of his parents. How many cookies were in the original batch?