Juggling

I ruined another birthday cake.  (Stacey v. Quinn’s Birthday Cake, 203 Anymommy (Aug. 2011) (this citation meant only to amuse my lawyer friends.)  I must have some sort of cake mental block.  Hello?  McFly?  If you flip the cake too early, it breaks apart and crumbles and the result is a pile of cake crumbs and not a nice neat block of frostable cake.

I flipped the damn thing too early and it broke.  Then, I flipped it back because – FU.CK! – and that marginally restored things to subpar, which I could live with, except for the huge hole in the middle.

Crying over broken cake seemed plausible, but I’d already cried more than strictly necessary on Friday about the stack of completely incomprehensible insurance rejections for my “delivery” and a phone call from the hospital congratulating me on my new baby, but um sorry, your insurance is messed up and you owe us something like 20,000 dollars.  Give or take.  Let us know how you want to pay that.  (We have good insurance and we’re lucky and they are helping me and it will be resolved, but still arrrrgggghhh.)

I stood beside the counter staring at the disaster of a cake, thinking how everything, EVERYTHING, felt off.  Wrong. Ill-fitting.  Dank.  Nate threw this massive tantrum in front of the elementary school the previous day because he didn’t want to walk and I needed him to walk.  He’s heavy and I can only carry him so far and I forgot the stroller and it was all offity off off-al.  He absolutely refused to take the final twenty steps to stand beside me and I absolutely refused – much like my three year old – to go and get him.

My giant baby (the actual baby, not me) hunkered down and screamed himself red in the face with hundreds of kids and parents and aides and teachers watching him.  “No walking.  NO WALKING. I DON’T LIKE WALKING,” he wailed while I stood steps away and ignored him.  I knelt down after a bit and held out my hand, something I often offer the kids when they are melting down.  “Hold my hand, nay-nay, come and stand with me,” but he knew I was irritated, my heart wasn’t in it and he refused.

He’s rarely stubborn. He usually wants only a hand to hold when he’s upset.  It was the worst kind of pointless power struggle and I had nothing.  I don’t have it lately, whatever “it” is, and the kids and the baked goods know it.  They smell weakness.

We left the cake where it sat Friday afternoon and walked to school with Elise and the stroller, kicking leaves and collecting buckeyes.  The sun felt good on our shoulders.  Quinn chittered about his field trip and chased squirrels. I brought lollipops for Garrett to share with his friends and when the bell rang we argued about colors and wished him a happy birthday.  Elise and I weaved through the congestion on the sidewalk, deep in conversation, winding around kids with backpacks and chatting groups of parents, and fielding endless questions that our herd of children mumbled around their sticky treats. Briefly left behind, Nate screeched piercingly into the crowd. I didn’t slow or break my sentence, I just maneuvered the stroller with my left hand, dropped my right hand behind me and wiggled my fingers.

I felt his soft, slightly sticky little hand slide into mine and I smiled.  I drop balls all over the place, but for the most part, in my own way, I’ve got this.

Sinkhole cake.  The candles are street lights.  I know, RIGHT?  Genius.  I am the queen of destroyed cakes.  Please ignore my right boob.

38 Responses to Juggling
  1. Robin from Israel
    October 15, 2012 | 3:36 pm

    Frosting – it fills the holes in both cake and hearts.

    xox

  2. Deb
    October 15, 2012 | 4:00 pm

    Excellent cake save. You’re on a streak.

    I’d say sorry about the general suckage, but I know that’s not your favorite thing. How about…I hear you.

  3. suburbancorrespondent
    October 15, 2012 | 4:06 pm

    I like that cake. And a word to the wise – there’s never really a need to flip a standard square/rectangle cake. Just frost it in the pan.

    Unless, of course, it is an upside-down cake. Which fact took me several years to figure out.

  4. Christine
    October 15, 2012 | 4:17 pm

    Genius cake. Genius.

  5. K-Line
    October 15, 2012 | 4:32 pm

    Honestly, you get a zillion points for creativity. For a woman who doesn’t like crafts, you saved the day with your brilliant theme! And excellent execution too.

    BTW, you know I’m a really good baker but I couldn’t make a cake to save my life until about 3 years ago. The reason? I am TOO IMPATIENT. (Sound familiar?) You have to leave those fuckers till they are 110% cool or it’s all over. But, once you develop the ability to delay your gratification / appease your secret concerns that it’s all going to go to hell, you will have beautiful results with cake.

    And, given how many of those suckers you make, is a necessary life skill :-)

  6. Issa
    October 15, 2012 | 4:39 pm

    Brilliant save! Frosting. More frosting cures cake mishaps. Always.

  7. MommyNamedApril
    October 15, 2012 | 4:48 pm

    all i can see now is your right boob.

    also, laughed out loud at the citation. ;-)

  8. Stephanie Precourt
    October 15, 2012 | 6:44 pm

    Now I want cake.

    Steph

  9. Joy
    October 15, 2012 | 6:46 pm

    this post made me laugh and cry and want to jump a flight just to give you a hug. cake save was GENIUS. boob in shot, brilliant (not in a pervy way.) you are a goddess among mothers coping with losses, insensitive bureaucrats, the need to be martha and public tantrums. all hail.

  10. anna see
    October 15, 2012 | 9:14 pm

    oh yes, my friend. you’ve got this!!!! so sorry for the sucktastic stuff you are dealing with. mightily impressed w/ the sinkhole idea.

  11. anna see
    October 15, 2012 | 9:16 pm

    ok, my comment disappeared. what i want to say is i am sorry you are dealing with so much sucky stuff right now. also, i am mightily impressed by the sinkhole idea. you’ve got this!

  12. Megan
    October 15, 2012 | 9:22 pm

    My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and I was admitted for a D&C. When I went back to my OBGYN’s for a checkup they told me that I owed several thousand for the “elective D&C.” I then informed them that it was in no way an elective procedure. Also, when I was in the hospital for the procedure, I was put in triage on Labor and Delivery and the nurse who came to take my vitals asked me when I was due, and why I was there. Apparently, she wasn’t informed of my situation. In fact, I think that it is cruel to make women who are miscarrying be on the same floor as women who are giving birth. Ugh, I’m not sure why I am telling you this, other than to say I feel for what you are going through!

  13. Gayle
    October 15, 2012 | 10:27 pm

    Clever distraction to have us all boob gazing rather than studying the cake which btw is fantastically crafty of you. Even when you suck you rock.

  14. Ellen
    October 15, 2012 | 10:32 pm

    Today I was having a crappy day and today you made me smile and for that I thank you!! Nate has the Cutest little smile ever!!!!

  15. tracey
    October 15, 2012 | 11:52 pm

    Well now all I can LOOK at is your right boob.

    Thanks a lot.

  16. Annie
    October 16, 2012 | 9:25 am

    Great cake recovery! Love reading your posts. Thanks forge smiles and laughs. And feeling the same way some days.

  17. tracy@sellabitmum
    October 16, 2012 | 11:27 am

    Oh that cake is perfect. Just like your boob.

    My mom was(is) not a baker and now when my brother and I get together we love to share stories about my mom’s baking disasters. See, you are just giving them fodder. It’s your duty. xo

  18. Jenng
    October 16, 2012 | 1:30 pm

    That cake is AWESOME! Way to be creative! :) I’ll have to remember that when I ruin my cakes…I’m not good at baking them either (or anything else for that matter). :)

  19. Candice@NotesFromABroad
    October 16, 2012 | 3:49 pm

    My husband calls them Crazy Cakes and swears they taste 100 times better than the perfect ones like the bakery sells.
    One day we ( he, I , 2 kids) sat and squirted chocolate syrup on our crumbling cake slices and deemed it the best cake ever.
    I think there is some sort of platitude for this but my mind, she is crumbling too.
    besitos, C

  20. Candice@NotesFromABroad
    October 16, 2012 | 3:49 pm

    My husband calls them Crazy Cakes and swears they taste 100 times better than the perfect ones like the bakery sells.
    One day we ( he, I , 2 kids) sat and squirted chocolate syrup on our crumbling cake slices and deemed it the best cake ever.
    I think there is some sort of platitude for this but my mind, she is crumbling too.
    besitos, C

  21. Candice@NotesFromABroad
    October 16, 2012 | 3:50 pm

    My husband calls them Crazy Cakes and swears they taste 100 times better than the perfect ones like the bakery sells.
    One day we ( he, I , 2 kids) sat and squirted chocolate syrup on our crumbling cake slices and deemed it the best cake ever.
    I think there is some sort of platitude for this but my mind, she is crumbling too.
    besitos, C

  22. Magpie
    October 16, 2012 | 4:49 pm

    Sink hole! Friggin’ genius.

  23. Emily S.
    October 16, 2012 | 6:10 pm

    The line:
    “I felt his soft, …. I’ve got this.” was at the very bottom of my screen. I paused for a moment, because it was so sweet and true, and then I scrolled down to see the cake and tears rolled down my face.

  24. maggie may
    October 16, 2012 | 11:00 pm

    Lemons to lemonade.

    You do got this.

  25. Lady Jennie
    October 17, 2012 | 6:16 pm

    You’re perfect – did you know that? Because you are. :-)

  26. Michelle
    October 18, 2012 | 1:33 am

    I don’t decorate. I love to bake and cook and all, but… I’m not the “make it pretty” type. My cakes stay in the pans the vast majority of the time. Mister Man’s birthday cake this year was my first attempt at a layered cake since the disaster of ’02. Seriously. And I love the sinkhole cake :)

  27. Korinthia Klein
    October 18, 2012 | 1:57 am

    Well, your cake and trying not to look at your boob made me laugh, and you have my sympathy about Nate and his meltdown. That’s so hard to have to deal with on top of everything else. (And I really think Sinkhole Cake should be a thing. Because it’s awesome.)

  28. Jessica
    October 18, 2012 | 11:41 am

    That cake is perfect, I have my sights set high on ruining one this weekend. My son wants it to look like a nutcracker my daughter wants it to look like a pig, maybe I can throw them both in a sink hole (the characters, not my kids).

  29. Deidre
    October 19, 2012 | 6:15 pm

    You have most definitely got this! Absolute brilliance with the cake save. The sucky days will eventually be fewer and farther between. I promise.

  30. Deidre
    October 19, 2012 | 6:15 pm

    You have most definitely got this! Absolute brilliance with the cake save. The sucky days will eventually be fewer and farther between. I promise.

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