Tuesday, March 28, 2006
The Starfish Eggshell Cake and Other Such Oddities
Life with small children is a lot of fun, a lot of work, and totally unpredictable. Things don't usually go as planned and I'm slowly learning to hold loosely to my expectations. Poppy will turn one on Thursday and we had a little celebration for her last Saturday. Peregrine helped me mix up the cake, which was lemon poppy seed to be decorated with flowers. He likes to put his hands in the sugar, stir things, dump ingredients into the bowl, eat butter, and adjust the speed of the mixer. He also likes to crack the eggs but freaks out if he gets any egg goo on his fingers. He usually taps the egg on the edge of the counter then hands it to me to break open. When we were making Poppy's cake he cracked not one, but two eggs, a little too far open and they broke open onto the floor where little Poppy seized her opportunity to come and rub her hands in the mess! We finally finished the batter and I didn't notice until I was spooning it into the pans that there were some lovely brown eggshells in it. Poppy seeds add a nice crunch, but eggshells really add that gourmet touch, don't you think? (Just let me know if you'd like my recipe and I might lend you my assistant too!)
Saturday morning came and I had a bit of time to myself to assemble and decorate the cake. I covered it with pale yellow frosting and then planned to pipe orange, purple, and dark pink flowers on it. I'm not very good at piping and my flowers looked just like starfish! They were even all the colors that starfish come in. My wonderful husband walked in to the kitchen at that point and commented on the nice starfish I was putting on the cake! What to do? Try to pipe some anemones and coral and turn it into an under-the-sea party? I added some yellow centers and green leaves and they ended up being recognizable as flowers after all. Whew!
The party was a lot of fun. I'd like to say that Peregrine was on his best behavior but I'm afraid that wasn't the case. I really had hoped he would be; I planned for him to be, but it just didn't happen. That expectation thing again. The highlight of his acting up (or out, or whichever direction he was acting) came after I had consented to let him have a little root beer. He's been pretty deprived his whole life and I usually limit his drinking to milk, water, and very diluted juice. Needless to say he was a bit taken aback by the bubbles in the root beer and left it sitting on the counter "for later". I didn't think much of it until he was eating his piece of Starfish Eggshell cake and apparently decided it was later. Instead of asking nicely (I wish I would say like he usually does. We're working on that.) he began to scream at the top of his lungs "I need my beer! Where's my beer? I need my beer!" And as chagrined as I was at his rude behavior I actually had to turn around to keep him from seeing me laughing at the sight of my three year old hollering for his beer!
All in all it was a special celebration. How could it not be when we were celebrating the life of such a wonderful little person? Peregrine's help and antics made it all the more memorable. Years from now I will remember these things because they were unexpected and made me laugh. I will remember Poppy digging in to her cupcake, lifting it up to her face, smashing and crumbling it and rubbing it in her hair. I'll remember how beautiful she looked, her big blue eyes shining as she looked at her candle, and how sweet she appeared in the poppy dress I made her. I look forward to many more celebrations in her life. I'll plan them and prepare for them with the help of my growing children. And I'll try to let go of my expectations and enjoy every moment.