Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The evening before Caelan's first birthday, I decided to decorate a "fancy" cake for his Old McCracken themed birthday party. Old McCracken's farm was really weird and kooky and fun and we sang about it every day. He had a Big Bird here and a Cookie Monster there. It never occured to me that messing with the proper flow of nursery rhymes using my twisted sense of humor and banning fairy tales from our home would one day hinder Caelan's 7-year-old dreams of advancing past the first round of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. But none of us is perfect. Which brings me back to cake decorating.
I started on the barn cake at about 6 PM. I finally went to bed at 3 AM. I learned some very important lessons that night. First, Betty Crocker's frosting recipe made with a butter and confectioners sugar base is not a cake decorator's friend. Second, the Cotton commercial with the man baking a cake and laughing as it falls apart, that's a total misrepresentation of how you really react. Other people may laugh and enjoy the watching all the frosting slide off your cake. But you feel like throwing the rest of the cake against the wall. When you have 20+ people coming to your house in less than 12 hours, that's just not your best option.
Caelan has grown into his adult tastebuds and now prefers a chocolate cheescake. But since I had Caelan in 1995, I've decorated a cake for one of the boys' birthdays nearly every year. And I've discovered that cake decorating is just not one of my talents. You can't really get away with calling your cake decorating style shabby or distressed like you can with scrapbooking. I don't have the patience to take the time to make things nice and smooth. I don't have any desire to practice. So I have found that I have 2 choices. I can stress over the cake and how bad it's going to turn out and let it make me grumpy the day before the party as I make it. Or I can let the kids help. They don't care if it's perfect. They care if has great memories attached to it. They love searching through ideas and planning. They love shopping for the ingredients. They love watching the process. And I've found that they love to help. Since they love to help, I don't have to focus so much on how it looks. When an 8-year-old helps you, it should look like an 8-year-old helped you.
We headed out the door to Will's birthday party with these Lego cupcakes in our covered containers on Saturday night. He was bursting with excitement to show his friends.
We rented the recreation building of First Baptist Church for 2 hours. We ate lots of this.
And there were apparently some very serious discussions to be had between best friends.
Everyone, parents included, was involved in the fun at this birthday party.
There were no age barriers on the competitive spirit. There was great discussion over whether the focus of this photo should be on the obvious foul or the fact that "a good athlete would have made it, regardless." I'll let you all figure out which player was on each side of the argument.
And then, then, then, we found solid proof that video games are the scourge of society. The kids on skates was hysterically pathetic!
I don't think a single one of them could manage to get up on their feet.
From age 8.
To age 11.
But none of them gave up.
I'm sure we all remember the uncontrollable desire to get up on our feet and fly across the floor. We were relieved to find video games cannot squash that desire.
And eventually, every one of them managed to make it around the perimeter of the gym in an, albeit shaky, upright position.
And 25 years later, I conquered skating backwards! I never knew the secret to learning was holding your arms and hands like a robot. I'm anxious to try that trick out on dancing as well. And maybe cake decorating. Who knows what victories my future holds!