It’s not every day your kid’s birthday cake gets trolled. But that’s currently what’s happening on my Facebook page where a heated debate has broken out over the cake I served at my eight-year-old son’s birthday party at the weekend.
Kids’ birthday cakes tend to bring out extreme emotions in people. They are fertile ground for judgement. I know this because it’s not the first time I’ve been shamed for the cake I’ve served up at my kids’ parties. More about that shortly.
But first, to the most recent cake in question. My youngest child is my third and if you have more than one child or if you have older siblings, you’ll know that the more kids there are, the less attention gets paid down the line until the youngest pretty much raises themself.
For example, just last night my son reminded me that the tooth fairy hadn’t bothered to come last time he lost a tooth (his first) which he unfortunately swallowed. His dad and I looked sheepishly at each other as he tried not to smile while announcing, “Either the tooth fairy forgot to come or mum and dad forgot to leave me money which means the tooth fairy doesn’t exist.”
Ooopsie. Such is the lot of a third child.
So you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that my youngest has never had a home-made birthday cake. My eldest is 18 and we also have a 10-year-old, so the birthday cake novelty (and guilt) has really worn off (for me) due to the sheer number of birthdays we’ve been lucky enough to celebrate with our kids.
For many years now, my go-to in the cake department has been this $4.99 bargain from Woolies.
It comes complete with chocolate icing, the cake is soft and spongy, it's a bloody little ripper. Decorate it with some Smarties or hundreds and thousands, whack in some candles and off you go.
There's never any left at the end of any party at which I have served this cake. I've written about it before. I swear by it.
One time, I posted a photo of it on social media and was immediately shamed for not taking the time to bake my child's birthday cake from scratch. For cutting corners. For not caring enough — about cake, about my child, about birthdays. People were very upset.
This year, however, I've upset people again for a different reason. I wish I had time to be upset by other people's cakes. Think about how awesome that would be for a moment.
OK, back to my story. So when I was in New York for work last month, one of the other mothers in my son's class, emailed me to ask if we'd be away in late September because it was her son's birthday and she was trying to organise dates for his party.
OH SHIT. It was my son's birthday in mid August and that was only... two weeks away. And I'd totally forgotten to organise him a party.