Next month - in fact, on the very first day of next month - it's my little guy's birthday.
He's very keen on the idea of his birthday. I think mostly that's because he wants presents. And he wants to be the center of the universe, even if it's just for a day. With three kids in the house, trust me, that doesn't happen very often.
So every night he asks me if it's his birthday tomorrow. He knows August is coming, but he doesn't quite get the when.
And this year his birthday is a little more complicated than usual. That's because this year, for some reason, my little guy is refusing to age.
I've tried to explain to him that he will turn four on his birthday. He says no. Vehemently, with full on pouty face. "I'm not gonna be four," he grouches at me. "I'm gonna stay three again!"
It's hard to disagree with him. I'd have been perfectly happy to stick at 32 for a decade or so. Not possible, of course. So I'm trying to convince him that older is okay. And I think I've found the perfect bribe.
I decorate cakes for fun and frolic. My kids' birthdays are a special treat because I get to pull an all-nighter, run a Harry Potter marathon on the portable DVD player, and get crafty with fondant, colored nonpareils and run-in sugar. Few other things make me as happy.
The kids love the cake thing, too. At least once a week, they will pull out all my many cake books and create fantasy celebrations in their heads. It reminds me of the Sears catalog, back in the day. My Oma used to call it the Wish Book (I think everyone else's grandmother did, too), and my sister and I would spend hours building a wished-up life complete with furniture, glamorous outfits, and - um - tools.
My little guy, though, is less about the cakes of late. Nowadays he's all about the cupcakes. He loves Dede Wilson's Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes (oh, and I do, too - her Italian meringue buttercream is lightly sweet, all natural and utterly delicious). He'll sit with that book for an hour at a time, flipping the pages and sighing with cupcakey joy.
But today - oh, today! I have found the Holy Grail of cupcake books. I was at BJ's, doing the warehouse thing. It's tedious and annoying, so I treat myself to book browsing while I'm there. This evening I was rewarding myself with a fruitless hunt for the new Nora Roberts novel when I spotted it ... Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. Oh oh oh oh oh!! Gorgeous. Tasty. Inspired. Now, I can make my own chocolate faux-bois! I can make little fondant monkeys! I can create a tiny cupcake forest of meringue mushrooms! It's a cornucopia of cupcake creativity.
I think it'll be enough to convince the little guy that he does, in fact, want to turn four. Because if he turns four I will make him any cupcake he wants. In fact, I will make him two dozen of them. And I won't make him share.
I'd turn four for Martha's cupcakes. Wouldn't you?
PS: For kicks, check out the Cake Wrecks blog link on the right. Daily posts of absolutely abysmal cakes, with occasional highlights of a few stunning concoctions. If you're serious about your caking, try 52 Cupcakes.