The Birthday Cake Request
A certain someone is about to be five years old.
Which seems a little strange if you know him. He is THE third child. Hot-headed, fit-throwing, big-hearted. Still has baby cheeks and looks about 3. Also gets really dramatic about not being able to dress himself and perform other basic skills that he is clearly capable of doing. He’ll spread his body on the floor like sad peanut butter and wail pitifully about not being able to find his socks. That haven’t moved from the same drawer since the day I arbitrarily decided to stash them there when Sam and Josh formed the first bro cohort in the “Jack” of the Jack & Jill upstairs bedrooms.
So five plus kindergarten seems a little too sudden for Mr. TJ. He is on the fragile precipice of wanting to grow up and still stay the tiny big-eyed soul from a Precious Moment’s Catalogue.
The other night, all the other siblings fell asleep first (a regular occurrence) and he climbed into bed with the covers up to his chin. The lights were off and I climbed into the bunk with him, my hands resting on his stomach. I just looked into his eyes in the semi-dark.
He broke the silence first. “Hey mom?”
“Yeah?,” I murmured.
“Will you read us stories again, like you used to?”
I immediately felt a stab of guilt. It had been a few months. Truly, they were going through an extra wild phase where just corralling everyone for bed seemed like every night we were trying to break the same four stallions over and over.
By the time I got to stories, I had to choose between being mean or just quickly throwing everyone in bed in one unceremonious final heave-ho.
“I’m sorry, TJ. I will try to start stories up again.”
More silence from my pensive soon-to-be-minted half-decade overgrown toddler.
“Yeah?,” I half-grinned in the dark.
“Why don’t you make me cakes?”
I lifted my eyebrows.
“You mean for your birthday?”
“Yeah, he whispered.”
By now in this journey, I’ve discovered that instead of coming right out and asking for something, kids (and people in general, myself included) will often express disappointment in place of directly asking for something. Because the feelings are too big to be direct.
“I suppose for past birthdays, we’ve done cupcakes and other things.”
The raw facts are, baking takes time and concentration.. and multiple small kids running around the kitchen is a recipe for disaster in Sara’s kitchen. An oven flare has nothing on my temper with the stress of going for exactitudes and measurements and people-ing at the same time.
“TJ, would you like a cake for your birthday?”
“Ok, what kind of cake would you like?”
I smiled. “Ok, I can do that.”
He settled in to his pillow and I thought the conversation was winding down.
I thought wrong.
“Mom, can you make it look like a star?”
Get ready for word vomit- here it comes.
I nodded at the rambling and barely hid a chuckle.
As an epilogue, he added, “…And I want a banana on top.”
He couldn’t see my look of confusion in the dark.
“You mean a sliced up banana?”
“No. A whole banana,” he stated with certainty.
The Pinterest fail was looking poster-sized in my mind, at this point.
“I will see what I can do.”
When really, I didn’t see and I’m quite sure that any attempt at a chocolate cake with these specifications will go straight to a Pinterest-fail meme.
What I did see is the satisfied smile on TJs face as he hugged me.
I’m hoping the feeling of being heard is bigger than his expectations for a spectacular cake, because that is not my gifting.
But I’m going to do my best because he had the courage to ask.
And you know I’ll make sure you see the end result.