I realise that someday you will read this blog and you will wonder why I didn't write your eighth birthday post anywhere near your actual birthday. I could lie and say it's because I needed more time to thoughtfully think about my words. The truth is, I haven't written your birthday post because I've just been busy - being a mother to you, a daughter to your grandparents, and a wife to your Dad. That being said, I couldn't miss a year ... so I hope you'll forgive me for this somewhat belated birthday post.
I think it's apt that this year we talk about who you are relative to the birthday cakes I made you. Seems like a bit of a literary stretch, but the three of you have been such huge supporters of my cake business! From the tasting, to the giving of opinions, to the not complaining when you get dragged to yet another cake decorating supply store, to tolerating "just one more" delivery on the way to football/ballet/gymnastics - the three of you are as much a part of Three Sweeties as I am. There are many children who would think it's cool that their mother makes cakes all day...but there are few who would go up to perfect strangers and say, "Did you know my Mum makes the BEST CAKES EVER? I think you should order one!" and then follow that person around until you're sure they've got a business card in their hand. So forgive me combining my two passions of cake and kids, but this is one calorific experience which is going to be worth it. Plus, technically speaking, blog words are calorie-free.
My dear, sweet, fabulous Lexa-She (Alexis);
You asked for a cake with "Lots of bright colours! And flowers! And butterflies! Like springtime, Mum!" and the above is what you got. I think we managed to fulfil the brief pretty well, don't you? This cake is so much a representation of who you are, Lexi Girl. It's bright, it's tall, it's fun, it's... just... a joy to look at and experience. It makes my heart smile when I see it, and you have the same effect on me.
There are times when you are maddening ... and like the effort making all those little balls on that cake, times when I am tired, frustrated, and frankly at the end of my rope with you. Of course, those are the times when you'll melt my heart with a smile, offer a hug, or just do something which makes me smile. Recently your Safta commented to me that it seems you are never unhappy - that you're just the smiliest, most cheerful child. She's right - I've never met anyone who is simply as full of sunshine as you are. You are truly a ray of sunshine and I'm grateful for you every day.
This year you've had to learn the hard way that sometimes, there will be people who are smarter than you, faster than you, better than you at whatever it is you're trying to achieve. Most kids would let this get to them...instead you've decided that nothing will stop you and you've now proved everyone wrong. You suddenly find it's YOU who is better, who is faster, who is more capable - and when you do come up against a challenge, you just smile and say, "Well, Mum, there are LOTS of things which I am good at! It's okay that there are some things which need me to work hard." Knowing both sides of this coin makes you not only tolerant of those who need help, but one who also chooses to help others. Your teacher is always telling me about how you take time out of your day to help those who need it, and you always do it without being asked.
Really, Alexis, there are some days where I wish I could just bottle all that sunshine of yours. The only reason I wouldn't is because then I'd be depriving the rest of the world of it, and that somehow seems unfair.
For my super smart, super sensitive boy, Julian:
"I just want a simple cake, Ima. I want a coffee flavoured cake with chocolate icing and a picture of me, Teddy, and my Wuhwee on it. That's it."
In some ways, Jules, your request was the easiest...and in other ways, the hardest. In the end you got a big surprise because I included a whole bunch of your other interests - your beloved Cairo Jim books, your sports (cricket, basketball and football respectively), your new-found love of puzzles, your ambition to be a chef and so on and so forth. This cake is so much about you because it's all about complexity and simplicity all rolled into one. Sure, it's basically just some pictures of a boy and his dog and his lovey, surrounded by stuff he loves. It is about so much more than that though - it's about a boy far smarter than his years when it comes to learning, and yet so much still just an 8 year old who needs to be hugged and cuddled like all other 8 year olds.
This year has been a really hard one for you. You've gone well beyond your peers on an academic level, but on an emotional level you're very much a little boy. You have a big brain, but an ENORMOUS heart - and it's the heart which I am proud of. You've been trying to learn that just being smart isn't a good enough reason to misbehave... and it's been a very hard lesson for you. The only other person I know with as much brain power as you've got, AND with as much capacity to love ... is your Dad. A man who I love and adore, so it's no great secret how I feel about you, my son! You could do worse than to grow up and be just like your Dad.
You are the person I rely on for so many things - you're helpful, and funny as anything, and your knife skills are pretty good, too (believe me, you'll thank me later). You make me laugh and you make me cry - and that's okay, because we both know how much fun a challenge can be. Life with you is never, ever boring. My beloved "boychick" - you still don't think it's embarassing to hug your Mum in public, and I don't think you ever will. Thank goodness for that - because a life without a smooshy Julian hug-and-tickle combo just isn't worth living.
My funny, huggable, lovable Kiki (Claire):
When you were a baby, a cousin gave us a whole bag of hand-me-downs. Included in that bag was a bunny rug - a yard of pink flannel covered in little white bunnies and pink dots. For reasons I can't explain, you got attatched to that bunny rug in a HUGE way. These days your most precious "hoppy bunny" is folded neatly and stashed under your pillow every night - and woe betide the person who dares touch it, move it, or go within 10 feet of it. Poor Hoppy is a threadbare, mostly grey scrap which is fraying at the edges and has been hemmed and patched many times but you love and adore ever single thread of her.
Your cake had to include Hoppy on it somehow, and "a big giant cupcake on top"... so that's exactly what I delivered. Poor Hoppy is so grey, though, that I couldn't use all of her. I ended up scanning Hoppy and using her bunnies on the cake, and then piping in all the pink dots. When you saw it you shouted, "MUMMY! It's PERFECT!" As usual, Miss Kiki, you set out to get something, and you got it.
You are by far my most mature child. You speak like the teenager you can't wait to be, you act like the teenager you will be someday, and boy oh boy, are you one hell of a diva!
At the moment you are totally consumed by your dancing (ballet, tap and jazz) and your endless desire for "just one more hug, pppllleeeaaassseeee?!?!?" When you were younger we used to literally beg for a hug or a kiss, and these days we can't get you to stopping hugging us long enough to do things like, oh... say... breathe!
Every day you amaze me with the things you say and do, and I need to remind myself that you are only 8 even though it feels as though you are 18! You're fabulously competetive (as evidenced by our on-giong Ro-Sham-Bo championships) (of which I am winning) (and I know you'll disagree when you read this) but you also know when to concede defeat, and you do it with grace. You're clever, you're funny, you're lovable and just terribly, terribly nice. Kiki, you're (to borrow a crude but apt expression) the total package and I adore every single part (especially your cute tush) (yes, I know I'm embarassing you in public but that's what CHAMPION Ro-Sham-Bo parents do, you know.) I just can't wait to see how far you will go and how much you will achieve... just remember that even Divas need their Mums once in a while, okay?
Every day I catch glimpses of how you three are growing up way, way, WWAAAYYY too fast for my taste. I haven't got any more babies following you, so as each milestone passes I think of it with bittersweetness. I'll never again hold my baby who cannot yet crawl, help my toddler tie their shoes, put a new uniform on my preppie, listen to my first grader read a book by themselves, or watch as my second grader learns to navigate a pair of roller skates. What I will have, though, is an amazing, life-changing opportunity to live a life which has you in it - at every stage and at every age, I'll always know that you make my life that much better than I ever could have imagined. Thanks for letting your Dad and I be part of the magic.
Thursday, June 4, 2009