Happy Bloody Birthday!

Birthday parties make me anxious.

Hosting a child’s birthday party should be a relatively simple exercise. But for some reason when the time comes around, I seem to get into a bit of a flap.

I have tried to figure out why it is so, and I think I have narrowed it down to the cake…

When I was growing up, my sisters and I used to pour over the Women’s Weekly Cake Book for hours on end. Entire afternoons were spent reminiscing about the cakes we had picked in birthdays gone by, and agonising over which one to choose next.

And when the time came, my Mum never failed to deliver. Cake after delicious cake: Humpty Dumpy, the pool, the piano, the artist’s pallet… Those cakes used to make me feel so special. I could flick through that magazine today and name every cake I had and the birthday I had it for.

As a result, I think I may attach a disproportionate degree of importance to the role of the cake vis a vis the entire birthday experience. And the stress I put myself under to produce the perfect cake in order to make my children feel special results in me being so mean to everyone that no one feels special.

For example, will an awesome cake make up for me:

  • Running around the house for the entire morning of the party yelling at the children for not helping?
  • Threatening my eldest daughter with banishment to the bedroom for the duration of the party if she doesn’t stop fighting with her sister?
  • Greeting Hubby when he arrives home after a 24 hour flight home from New York (where he has been for 9 days) with a perfunctory peck on the cheek and “I need you to unstack the dishwasher and blow up some balloons!”?

In hindsight, I think perhaps the answer is no… And as it happens, the cake wasn’t even awesome. (Fans of Peppa Pig may attest her snout is not supposed to look like a penis – although thankfully everyone was kind enough not to mention it.)

So anyway, lesson learned.

Next time, I will try to relax. But I’m no pastry chef, and as the pressure mounts and I’m up to my ears in food colouring I know I may falter. In that case, I hereby grant Hubby permission to banish me to my room, take the kids, and drive down the road to the Cheesecake Shop. Because a happy birthday is surely about more than just the cake…


16 thoughts on “Happy Bloody Birthday!

  1. Ha ha…when I said that Peppa’s snout was somewhat more prominent than I recall I didn’t even consider that it was also quite phallic in nature…although now that you mention it;-) The cake always gets to me too. The several hours that I spent in the middle of the night cutting mint leaves into dinosaur spikes and placing tic tacs just so to resemble t-rex teeth (nevermind the engineering feat that was required in order to cover the whole shebang with alfoil without smudging the icing….this little production ended with me having my finger impaled on a wooden skewer at 2.30am – at least nobody was awake to hear me swear!) put me in quite a mood on the morning of Mr 4’s shindig. All I can say is that, clearly, the bar has been set so high for us that we crumble under the pressure. I blame Mum:-)

  2. I do believe the cake is important, and even if isn’t perfect – consider you target market… sub 10 yr olds. As long as the cake is chocolate, and the cake is vaguely on target, it works. Though admittedly your Peppa might work on a Hens night as well! 😉

    Saying that.. thank god I’ve only got 2.. (Did you see my effort last week? Our unicorns snoz was a bit on the mighty side as well. Note I say “my” – luckily hubby is a carving artiste with 6 years practice!)

    Why do we put ourselves under so much pressure?

    • Just saw your unicorn – amazing! Well done! (and high 5 to Hubby too!)
      You’re right though – we need to remember that when you’re a kid and have very limited access to cake, any cake is a great cake.
      I’ll think of you when I am up to my ears in icing and cake crumbs next February. God I hope she doesn’t choose a castle cake again. They’re seriously hard… Xx

  3. What a chuckle I had. I think we (mothers) are all mad! I know I used to stress myself out also especially with my youngest daughter celebrating her birthday on Christmas Eve making it even more difficult. There was always birthday cake left over amongst the Christmas “stuff”, not to mention the two occasions coming one after the other and no more presents for the rest of the year must been a bit sad for her. Anyway, blame your Mum – she is most certainly used to it. (ha! ha!)

    • Thanks Tiffany… You’re right, I know I will laugh at this in years to come. I like to include a photo of each birthday cake in my kids’ photo albums (to prove I baked them!), but I think this one may have to be excluded due to it’s R rating… 🙂

  4. Charlotte, you might have to wait for years before you can laugh at it but I get a kick (and a big chuckle) out of it every time I see it. I’m not sure I’m in favour of censoring the cake photos though. I bet the kids will love teasing you about that one one day.

    • Oh – so glad I could provide a laugh at 2am! I may be headed down the outsourcing path too. The next birthday here is not until February though – this may be enough time to recover from the stress and somehow convince myself that baking is a good idea. Hopefully no accidental penises on the next cake…

  5. Omg, I hadn’t read your blog since the first post and just stumbled upon it again. This cake really cracked me up – best laugh I’ve had in ages!! Xx

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