Superhuman Powers and Birthday Cakes

I am a decisive, determined person. Once I decide something, that’s how it’s going to be. Period. My husband can tell you that I am slightly stubborn. If my mind’s made up, there’s no turning back. I am like the tree that withstands the tornado, the levee that does not break, the bird nesting outside your window that will not die.

Could someone please then explain to me why, on a regular basis, I cannot do something as simple as holding my ground when it comes to daily life with the three small little people who live in my home?

I am beginning to suspect that these darling daughters, these lights of my life, are more than meets the eye. I have been keeping notes of times when their charm overtakes me, and as if they have superhuman abilities, I find myself doing things I SWORE I would never do.

Case in point: birthday cakes. I HATE decorating cakes, and every year I swear that is the last time I’m going to do it. My resolve on this point cannot be swayed. I am in the zone, no one is going to convince me to whip out the dreaded container of food coloring, parchment paper, and tips. As the summer months of birthdays approached, I spent 5 min. a day mentally “toughening up” so I would without a doubt withstand the pleas and cries for very specific cakes that were sure to come my way. I am a wall of determination. NO, NO, NO.


In the past three months, I have baked and decorated 14 layers of cake for my daughters’ birthdays. Leighanne’s was my own idea, a multi-layered cake with polka dots, which at one year old, I’m sure she appreciated about as much as my trash collector would notice if I tied pink ribbons around all my trash bags and monogrammed our family’s initials by hand on each one.

The day before Olivia’s 6th birthday party, I found myself elbow deep in a charming little thing called “marshmallow fondant” icing. It’s easy, they all said. Anyone can do it! So here I am, sweating, kneading and working on an icing conc

otion that is freaking out my

husband as he sees it sinking into the pores of our brand new granite countertops.

How did this happen? I ask myself as I enter hour #3 and am tediously coloring, cutting out, and placing tiger stripes and leopard spots on the six-tiered cake from hell. Where did I go wrong? How did they find a crack in my resolve?

The answer, of course, is that they are superhuman. They possess mind powers. I have witnessed my children convince otherwise competent adults to let them START a movie night at 9:30pm, let them take off all their clothes and turn fingerpaint into bodypaint, and their grandparents have brought them home with yet ANOTHER prized stuffed animal, which I add to their collection of 947 at home. Children hold the power, people. They know it, we know it, and they are skilled at using it.

Lauren’s is the last of the birthdays each year. By this point, my fingers are permanently dyed black from food coloring for the zebra and tiger stripes and I am nauseated at the thought of more cream cheese icing. But then, even as I steel myself for final combat, I know it’s a losing battle. And before I know it, I am rolling sugar cones in pink crystal sugar and trying in vain to stack irritating squares of cake to form a tower on a hot pink castle cake.

I consider for a moment what bliss it would be to just tell my kids the sad news that birthdays have been outlawed. How traumatized would they really be if I told them anyone seen having a birthday party or cake is toted off to kid jail?

And I mean it this time. I am NOT making cakes next year. It’s been a month and a half and I’m still shuddering at the thought of crisco and cake flour. Please, for the love of all things holy, hold off your superpowers, girls.

And no, we are not getting a dog. SERIOUSLY. NO.


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