Turns out the age for which you must get the birthday cake right is 4. Any variation on the theme, no matter how delicious, will be rejected--nay, rewarded!--with apocalypse now, toddler edition. Complete with hyperventilation, and outbursts so simultaneously piteous and hilarious you will be unable to stop laughing. Which won't help matters.
But there are no strawberries!!!! < sob sob sob >
Where is the....fraaaaaawwwww-ssssssting!!!!?
The earnestness. The confusion. The terrifying (if it weren't so adorable) rage. To be fair, it was his last night of toddlerdom. Perhaps he realized he ought to go out in style.
What I did next was, perhaps, not my finest flourish. But it had been a week of napless, back-to-school madness. And we were celebrating with an all-adult birthday dinner (save the guest of honor, of course) in our friend's extremely echo-y, amplifying living room. Oh, honey, you thought cake and candles were tonight? Actually, that's tomorrow. We'll have cake with frosting and strawberries and candles on your real birthday (thankgoditsnottoday). Tonight's cake is just a nice dessert for after dinner... That's right. I groveled.
And then I regrouped.
The next morning, I gathered my triage materials. Frozen cake, leftover frosting a friend made, strawberries, jam, old cereal bag for piping on accents. Things were looking good. And then I started to go a little nuts. Turns out, there are a great many images on the Interwebs of various "bus cakes." Inspiring. Could I free-style a bus that would meet with the child's approval? Could I, in fact, half-ass it?
Fortunately, my ambition knows no bounds. And I had a few hours o' free time.
I started to lose it a little with these strawberry "bushes." Not an essential feature, but...
It worked in my favor. My son appreciated the sugary offering, and accepted the whole monstrosity as a "fire bus." He even forgave its chocolate exterior. (Note to parents: white frosting is like gold. If you attempt a four-year-old's birthday cake without enough of this stuff, tread lightly and prepare for war.)
Turns out, if it's worth doing, it's worth over-doing. Within half-assed reason, of course. xox
©2011 Lis Harvey