Thursday, 19 May 2011

Mummy didn't punch the cake; daddy is alive. It's win-win!

All Rocco wanted today was a dinosaur cake. This kid has been counting down his birthday since back in December, when a newly 9-year old Max opened all his presents complete with a chorus of wailing. "I WANT! When is mine? Mummy, when is mine birsday? WAH."

Today, this very day right now, is Rocco's birsday. He is three. It is the official end of babydom.

For the past few nights, he's gone to sleep clutching a book ... a birthday cake making book. No shit. The pages are all worn, his teeny heart set upon a huge green T-Rex. I pride myself on cake decorating, man. Over the years I have done Shrek, Spiderman, Mario Galaxy, Lego, Buzz and Woody. My personal favourite was walking into a class of first graders carrying a very impressive Bart Simpson - I got a spontaneous round of applause.

The trick is to buy the sponges ready-made. If you bake it yourself, you're exhausted before you've even begun. Cutting corners and outsourcing - isn't that what good parenting is made from?

So Rocco is completely dinosaur-crazy, which is refreshing. There is no licensed dinosaur character (yet) ... so it's all generic. His passion lies with T-Rexs. Too easy.

Last night, after getting home at 7.30pm and lighting the fire, vacuuming, wrapping twenty presents, showering stinky boys ... it was time to decorate the cake. Dave tried to tell me how to do it, I told him for the gajillionth time, that he was not the boss of me. (He's the boss at work, comes home and tries to tell me what to do. There has been a lot of I AM NOT YOUR APPRENTICE shoutings, before he's gotten the hint.)

It was 9.30pm. I began to weave my magic.

Alas I had no skewers to secure the head, so had to ask Dave for structural help anyway. Which he loved. He carved out this cool Pacman shaped head, and thought he was SO clever. I thought of BabyMac's post about cake wars with her husband.

It was time to start. There was no traction, so I had to ice the whole thing with my fingers. I had to layer so much on there to get it to look cool. It took much longer than anticipated. So frustrating. Whose dumb idea was this? Why was everybody in bed but me? Should've outsourced from Michel's.

Dave's head looked .... wonky. I twisted it and turned it. The head icing started to melt from my hot clammy hands. (Dave affectionately calls me "the clamster." I affectionately call him "the dickhead.")

I watched, in slow-motion, as the Pacman T-Rex head disintegrated before my eyes. Like Michael Jackson; it just had too much work done.

                             Right before the Great Fall. Chin? Gone.

It was close to midnight. I needed to make more icing and cut another head out. All I really wanted to do was punch this stupid dinosaur cake to smithereens, go and wake Dave up and say YOUR CAKE HEAD SUX but I didn't because I have wonderful self-control.

(If a mother calls her childs birthday cake a c-bomb in the middle of the night and nobody hears it because they are all sleeping after not helping her vacuum ... does it even count?)

I iced a whole new head, the image of Rocco's reaction spurring me on. But it wasn't what I thought it was going to look like at all. It had become a lowly stegosaurus. Pffft.

That showed him!

He loved it. That's all that matters. He still thinks it's a T-Rex. He opened all of his presents with glee and with gusto. I was tired, but happy to see him happy.

Later, as I took this photo, I noticed two pieces of hair sticking up. And the burning love I felt for this little creature - this boy, this baby t-rex - outshone all the struggles and the PPD and the crap and the tricky circumstances of his birth.

I do not doubt my love for him anymore. The relief in that sentence makes me cry.

Happy Birsday, Rocco. Life will hand you many a stegosaurus, my sweetheart. May you always see a T-Rex.


PS Champ, you're three. You can start sleeping through the night any time you want to.


  1. That cake is totally cool!!! What a fierce stegosaurus with all of those teeth!!
    I laughed so hard at the "apprentice bit"!!! Pal is a baker/pastry chef, and the boss at his work, and my baking skills are always constructively criticised, told it could be better if I had done this or that, and then scoffed down so fast anyone would think it was yummy oy something!!

  2. Happy Birthday Rocco!
    How awesome is your Mum for making you a dinosaur cake? All my girl got was a pav from The Cheesecake Shop ;)

  3. How fun! I love that you were able to pull it off despite the difficulties.

    Happy Birthday little guy.

  4. Oh love! I love this post. I love that cake. I love Rocco. I love you.

    Will send you a pic of the cake the girls and I made today. Goose thought it looked like a birthday cake, "But it's no-one's birthday!" I told her: "Yes, it is, it's Rocco's!" So we said "Happy birthday Rocco!"


  5. I affectionately call him "the dickhead" and likening the head's demise to Michael Jackson's plastic surgery made me laugh SO HARD. I reckon the cake looked amazing. As do your two boys - absolutely gorgeous! Looks like a great party!! Super Mum!

    PS: my nearly 3yo spends most days carrying around her favourite book - a Woman's Weekly cake decorating book. She can sit and look at the pictures for hours. I caught her licking it the other day!

  6. Awesome! You are so fun! Happy 3rd Rocco! I remember when you were conceived! ;)

  7. Love the flipping off of the cake! totally something I would do! LMAO!

  8. "I do not doubt my love for him anymore. The relief in that sentence makes me cry." - You're not alone in those tears. What is it with you and making us all sob lately?

    In the year I had morning sickness, I threw a couple of packets of jam rolls on the table with some icing, sprinkles and m&m's and they made individual guinea pig cakes. Thankfully she's into guinea pigs and not horses.

  9. Rocco, here's to 24 more hours of birsday boy glee as it's still the 18th in LA. Hooray for the earth's axis! Hooray for three!

  10. Happy birthday Rocco!!!

    love your cake!!!

  11. Oh wow that is a great cake! Well done Eden never letter a T- Rex defeat you.

    Happy Birsday gorgeous Rocco, you have the best Mum!

  12. Love it, Eden and happy birthday Rocco! I too, am a cake making genius. I generally outsource the entire party except for the cake - and yes, you're on the money with buying the sponge. Here's a tip though - once you've cut your pieces, wrap them in glad wrap and stick in the freezer. Easier to ice. I'm in trouble for Flynn's birthday this year though ... this is what he's requested:

    Mr Styling You says he's up for the challenge.

  13. Happy birthday darling Rocco. Your mum is so damn spanking cool x

  14. Love you sticking your finger up to the cake, with a Buddha statue in the background. HA! And Michael Jackson reference ... pure Gold!! Thank you. This will be me in a few weeks trying to make a Rocket cake. In space, no one can hear you swear ...
    Happy birthday to Rocco. 3 is very big.

  15. This made me laugh. Nothing amuses me more than wonky cakes. (Hence my mad love for Cake Wrecks.)

    I think you salvaged the Pacman head disaster valiantly. Love the teeth!

  16. That cake looks unreal! Bloody good job.

  17. Happy Birsday Rocco!
    That cake rocks my socks - they're white socks so you can see my wicked dance moves like Michael Jackson.

  18. I am hiring you for all future cakes I might need.

    Bless you little man and happy birthday - you melt my heart everytime I see you.

    I am not a secretary.

  19. I adore that sentence "I do not doubt my love for him anymore. The relief in that sentence makes me cry"
    we go through ivf, have perfect little babies then PPD PTSD sets in and we are so unhappy.

    I van relate to this more than you know. I am so glad we are finally where we need to be.
    love you and happy birsday little man!

  20. Eden,
    That cake is awesome! I too have wonderful memories of my now 17 yr old son pouring over the Womens Weekly Birthday Cake book for weeks before his birthday trying to decide which cake he wanted, I had forgotten that, thank you for reminding me & making me smile!
    Happy 3rd Birthday Rocco, with a Mummy like yours you're in great hands!

  21. what is it with little people & the womans weekly birthday cake cookbook my kids are on their 2nd copy as they destroyed the first with love & i'm sure there was sneaky licking going on especially after the cake had been made & there were crusty pages...eden i so relate to this post! thank you

  22. MATE - you gotta do yourself a favour and get the other sister to do your birthday cakes, the anal attention to detail - mate the utter RELIEF at not having to fight with runny icing and c*unting cakes falling apart................You're like SO welcome dude! Happy Birthday Baby Big Boy Rocco xxxx

  23. Oh I only hope to do as good as this for my daughter's birthday next week. She is eight. Tough crowd. And she wants a dinosaur cake. I'm considering outsourcing after the great Disco Ball Fail of 2010.

    My children have also picked cakes for each birthday until they're about, oh, 27 or 28 I'd say! LOL

    Great job but I can see there's an even greater milestone reached in those last sentences. Happy Birthday to your baby boy!

  24. Love the steg-rex cake! And the fact that it nearly got the better of you but you fought back!

  25. Happy birthday, Rocco!

    I didn't realise our littlies are so close in age - my Miss 2 will be 3 in September. 3 sounds so... grown-up!

  26. That is a genius cake. I am completely in awe of your cake decorating skills.

  27. Every year I swear I am never making another one of those cakes. Every year I give in to the excited eyes of the children wanting one specific cake. This year I ought the pre made sponge, why did no one but this in a parenting book...things were so much easier.

  28. If you start now, you can have my cake done and shipped to me before my birthday in July. I want one in the shape of Michelangelo. You can use the dickhead as your model :-)

    (It's 7:41 am here, and now I want cake. Now.)

  29. Ah, what a great post and what an awesome mom.

    That moment, when you no longer doubt your love, it such a spectacular moment! I am so happy that you had yours!

  30. And sometimes life has indescribable, unexpected and total beauty.

    Happy Three Rocco.


    Auntie Pam

  31. Awesome cake, awesome effort Eden!

    I, too, have bitched at a cake in the wee hours of the morning and wondered what the fuck I was thinking. Isn't it wonderful that while one is in the wicked awful throes of desperate icing it seems to terrible, but later after it's done it feels so triumphant. Oh adversity - apparently it even comes in cake form.

    And yay for the love. I bet he never doubted it.

  32. That is the most awesome snaggle-stega-t-rex-asaurus ever. EVER. Perhaps because of the love that inspired its creation.
    Also, in the "before the fall" picture, I love how it looks like your model t-rex has been sneaking bits of frosting while you're not looking.

  33. Happy Birthday Rocco!!
    Your Mama is a true badass - she wrestled a dinosaur for you!

  34. Happy Birthday Rocco! I'm so glad you're here, or we might never have met your awesome Mummy!

  35. I think your dinosaur is phenomenal and you put me and my bog standard love heart cake to shame. Every year, 4 kids, 4 cakes, same cake every time. Henry Hotdog (5 on Wednesday) asked for a spiderman cake and was greeted with a blank stare followed by a "how about a love heart cake with chocolate icing?". Before he could answer Ms 11 said "trust me buddy, that's all she's got"

    I'm inspired by the fact that you buy the sponge first. Although I've never seen a sponge cake for sale in Qatar. Maybe I could make a dinosaur out of cous cous and camel?


  36. The cake is awesome. Your son loved it and that's the best part! It takes a lot of character to be able to make something great out of a dissaster. Oh yeah...I am so glad someone else flips off their food creations too...and yes, it does show shows them real good!

  37. I love cake stories and yours was the best. I have recently made three novelty cakes in 32 dsys for my children's birthdays. Phew! I love the challenge but often end up having long nights making them.
    Treasured memories for your kids.

  38. Happy Birsday Rocco... I'm a day late.. And Happy Daddy is OK day too :-)
    Your determination to do that cake.
    Women we are the power behind every damned butter icing up to your elbows birthday cake makers.
    I too have found the buy the cake way.. It IS the carving decorating and display that birthday cakes are about.
    But this cake was much more than that.. It was a lovingly planned & made dreams of birthday cakes & wishes that only a mother could interpret.
    And Rocco... Sleeping in your own bed all night is soooo 3 year old cool!!!

  39. Happy birthday to Rocco! and good work on the cake. I'd eat it.

  40. That cake is ridiculously fucking awesome...and so are YOU. My birthday is in November. I'd like an Eddie Vedder cake, please...get bakin', woman.

    I love Rocco, too. He's so damned adorable and I wish him happiness at 3,4,5 and beyond. I wish the same for you and the rest of your lovely brood.

    Hey! I'm hosting a cocktail party at your NYC hotel tonight. It won't be the same without you and Dave. XOXXOX

  41. love the line Life will hand you many a stegosaurus, my sweetheart. May you always see a T-Rex. I need to see a T-rex.

  42. We always make the ceremonial birthday cake here for birthdays. We have for years. Your cake looks far more advanced! ha!

    And, what a sweet child you baked. ;-)

    Happy 3rd Birthday Rocco!
    Love, Auntie Crow.

  43. Happy Birthday Rocco. You are so awesome and so lucky to have a mum who loves you so fiercely!!! Have a great third year baby boy!!

  44. JOY! Your post brings me what I most want for you and yours, pure unadulterated joy.

    I'm so happy that you are living in the moment and extracting everything you possibly can from it. Great finger picture. Great happy successful wrestling "yeah!" from a threatened disaster. Great green cake dinosaur. GREAT birsday for one and all! Thank you.

  45. Happy Birthday Rocco!

    Great job on the cake, Eden!

    Rocco, please start sleeping through the night - maybe once a week or so to start?

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  47. Eden, as someone who made a shitty stegosaurus one year (it was nowhere near as good as yours, in fact mine was only two-dimensional), I give you mad props for this.

    After my stegosaurus fail (which in fact followed an awful tiger the previous birthday), I hit a new low point with the most atrocious moon you can imagine. And I made my kid pick the moon because I thought it would be easy! Yeah. If you can cook and decorate cakes I guess.

    Some of our pictures are almost identical -

    Thanks for the deja vu, and happy birsday to your lovely boy xx

  48. Happy Birsday, Rocco! Being 3 is super fun. I am so impressed with you cake decorating skills

  49. You rock! I couldn't even come close to making a cake like that (though I have done the middle of the night icing thing). And I think that motto is a great one for Rocco - and all of us - to carry through life, don't you? You should probably patent it.
    A belated birthday to your little man. xo

  50. Happy birthday to you all.

    (this post gave me a tiny little panic attack cause I was thinking about the horror of MB2 birthday week - all birthdays all the damn time - and then was hit with a wave of relief as the world will be destroyed on 21 October, 2 days earlier. HUZZAH!)

  51. hope he had a good one! who cares if the cake isn't perfect, all that matters is that you put the effort in!


  52. Happy birthday Rocco :). That is a wonderful cake. Ps"I'm going to have a 3rd old soon and no way will I allow that to bs the end of the babydom ;) he'll always be a baby to me :)"

  53. Sorry that's a really awkward auto-correct moment on my iPhone- the bs= be, in my comment above. I'm not trying to say anything you have written in bs ~blush~

  54. I think I peed a little. Best post ever!

    i have to say though. Just the first photo, with the first bits of the cake cut out. I'd have given up waaaaaay before then. Too hard for me.

  55. To dear Computer,

    I am constantly blown away by how you come here and leave me messages - of love, support, celebrations. I want you to come to my house for a semi-fancy shindig. I want to teach you how I dance. I want to teach you all I know ... and then I want you to do the same for me.

    Eden xoxox

  56. What a cute cake! I like all the details!

    Cake Display

  57. I am SO late with this comment but I loved this post so much!

    I can relate to cake decorating dramas - and I frequently drop the c-bomb at my cakes (as well as the f-bomb, mf-bomb etc etc) - it's an integral part of my creative process. I'm sure I'm part related to Gordon Ramsey!


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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