Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Things We Do for Love

Second only to baseball is Bob the Builder in our toddler's world. As a former very active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, this construction obsession warms my heart. The dings in my walls and furniture (who knew plastic hammers could be wielded so powerfully) are a small price to pay to encourage JR to master trades where he could actually make a living and own a home worthy of Trading Spaces.

In JR's daycare, there is a tradition of parents supplying a cake on their child's birthday. The teachers and kids get fed, and the child gets to bring home a paper crown with paper candles corresponding to the child's age. This year, in a fit of insanity, I opted to make a Bob the Builder cake for JR's class.

I had the pan. I had the instructions. I went to the local gourmet kitchen store and purchased the necessary design tools (tips and icing bags and colored icing). I got up extra early Wednesday morning to bake the cake (2 boxes of pound cake mix, as recommended by the owner of the cake pan). This took a bit longer than anticipated because (1) JR also got up extra early and decided he had to help and (2) two boxes of cake mix do not cook as fast as one box of cake mix.

I took time off from work Wednesday afternoon (and left JR safely in daycare), so I could do the decorating. Now I have baked cakes before (although not since we moved to this neighborhood, home of more fantastic Italian bakeries than you can shake a stick at). I have also slathered icing on cakes before. I have never, though, tried to decorate a cake that looks like something. I also never got much past 2nd grade in terms of coloring and drawing skills. But I persevered. After a full afternoon's work, I had about 1/3 of the cake iced. I hid the cake, went off to pick up JR from school, picked up JR's dad, visited a potential swim club, grocery shopped, dropped dad and JR off at home, hightailed it out to my "book club" meeting, came home and picked up where I'd left off.

By Thursday morning, I actually had a cake that was recognizable as Bob the Builder, and from the reports of kids and teachers, was a major hit with everyone.

I hope that doesn't mean they'll expect another homemade cake next year.

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