Caketastrophe #1: The 'hit it with a hammer' ladybird.
Ali, I blamed you for this on Twitter, but it was totally unfair, since Fingers has actually been fixated on it for months. It was TOTAL. HELL. There were technical issues. Many technical issues. Then there was human error. The errors of several humans heaped upon the unhelpful getting underfoot skills of the weepette. Did the Australian Women's Weekly stalwarts account for this when they 'triple tested' the recipe? No, they did not. Did they find moth larvae in the chocolate vermicelli? I very much doubt that they did. Maybe a funnel web spider though? I bet those Women's Weekly ladies are made of extremely stern stuff, and would cow the funnel web into submission with little more than a hard stare and a poke with a silicone spatula. I have no excuse for my substandard performance. I hang my head in shame.
Looks (just) ok, you are thinking? Want the back view?
I did like the smashing part though. The CFO vetoed the hammer on Health and Safety grounds and Fingers rejected my suggested alternative of rolling pin in favour of a spoon. The child is a model of restraint. If he hadn't been the only child born that day in University College Hospital, I would have serious doubts about whether we are in fact related. But smashing is smashing whatever the implement. There should be more smashing of things on birthdays. They should be like dinner at a cheap Greek restaurant on Charlotte Street circa 1985, with an orgy of plate smashing and dancing, though without the retsina. The last time I drank retsina I ended up hiding a baked potato in Violet's bed.
Caketastrophe #2 - The "Parrot"
Despite my trying to follow the illustration of what I believe may be a macaw in "Les Barbapapas envahissent le Congo" or similar, I seem to have made a psychedelic puffin.
You probably think this looks ok. Even I think it looks ok, sort of. Not parrot-like. I tried to get a bit too clever around the eyes. But perfectly passable. However, LOOK AT THE KITCHEN:
You are probably wondering why I don't just buy cakes. I don't know. The nearest thing to an explanation I can find is that it is a little like some kind of ritual sacrifice I feel I must perform yearly, like sacrificing a calf or goat or similar. It is that important. And stupid and pointless and hard. By making the cake - the biggest, most ill-advisedly ambitious, most ridiculous cake - I am honouring this child. (This child who is utterly indifferent to cake.) Somewhere in my twisted brain I have equated cake with love. Don't try and get me to explain it. I know it makes no sense, but the child must have birthday cake and it must have HARD cake and somehow this is a proof of how much I love him because it says 'you were born today and it was the kind of amazing that merits buttercream and silver balls and many many colours of glitter for you are the most wonderful, strange and hilarious creature and I can't believe my luck in having you in my life'. Even the CFO accepts I must make the cake now and confines himself to the odd eyeroll when things get really out of hand and the floor is littered with half toothpicks and silver balls and noone has eaten a meal all day. Tonight he went to bed at 9 to keep out of the way, wisely.
What can I say? I attach mystical significance to cake. As I am otherwise spiritually barren, it seems a fair concession to whatever great unknowable it is that I don't believe in. Especially now when tomorrow, next week, next month seem thoroughly unpredictable and foreign.
And you know, this boy is worth a lot of cake.
Happy birthday, parrot boy. You have been a total delight for the past five years. You have the strongest sense of self of anyone in this house, and what a strange and wonderful self it is. There is plenty more I could say, but I have to go and perform the ritual ablutions of the worktops, before eating the ritual meal of cake offcuts and strawberry bootlaces.