I think if I coughed right now
cake mix would come billowing out of my mouth.
Today I baked my 10th dozen of cupcakes for the week.
This was after I'd baked two complete cakes.
Both of which Paige demolished within minutes.
Pudgy, dimpled fists pounding at it with a scary twinkle in her eyes like the pulverized crumbs were somehow giving her super powers.
One hundred and twenty cupcakes.
If I had known this would be my January fate from here through the next 18 years because of the poor birth date planning on my part for Chloe and Paige, I might have planned better.
Their birthdays are four days apart.
This was Paige's first birthday, so of course, we had to do it up big.
I planned for weeks and made so many paper poms I felt arthritic.
I read about epsom salts on the internet, but was too tired to actually go get some.
And poor Chloe.
She didn't even get a card.
She got Paige's leftover party decorations and a half smashed cupcake in her lunch for school.
Her lunch which, for four days, had been 80% leftover party food from Paige's party.
When I opened her lunch bag to pack it again for tomorrow's lunch, it looked like a cupcake murder scene.
It took seven paper towels to clean it out.
She didn't seem to mind, really, or even notice.
She loved her gift and was super excited about the pencil she'd gotten from her teacher, and she seemed chipper enough as she sat down and made this drawing for herself.
Kind of sad when you have to make your own birthday card.
But I AM letting her have her very first slumber party tomorrow.
She's inviting her two best friends, Maddie and Kaitlin - Both of whom she's known since birth.
Her major plans for the evening involve playing ring toss and making Tessa be the yellow rings, eating pesto pasta, and having a dance party - but not to the song from Despicable Me because she's "kind of tired of that song now."
I've been fretting over how to entertain the girls, but I guess I need to just keep remembering that this is the kid that hugged me three times for writing "Chloe's Bakery" on a brown paper bag so that she could pretend that she was selling her wooden food from her wooden kitchen.
I KNOW I overcomplicate.
I don't know what it is in me that gives me the need to outdo myself.
I put so much pressure on it.
Are the cupcakes evenly frosted?
Are the poms hung at a precise level to achieve visual balance?
Do the lemon slices in the water match the color scheme, or would limes have been better?...
I think this.
And I blame Martha Stewart's Magazine for scoffing at me from the checkstand as I buy canned frosting and boxed cake mix.
But Martha doesn't have four kids who will need seven snacks in the period of time it would take to make a cake from scratch.
Martha's mixing bowls aren't being used as Barbie swimming pools that have been sitting outside for so long they are growing black slime.
I may not take on all her suggestions of planning my spring potting, but I do take on some pressure.
All the while,
the kid whose birthday it is sits in the corner eating their own boogers.
A connoisseur they are not.
So why is my upper lip sweaty?
They don't care about paper poms.
They just want to know if they can have my iPad after the guests are gone.
I don't even remember having birthday parties as a kid.
I know I did, but I don't really remember them.
The only one I remember was my third one.
My parents had hired a clown, which scared me half to death.
But it didn't scare me as much as the game we played.
(And apparently, after looking at this picture more closely, I should have also been scared of those orthopedic looking shoes I was wearing....?!)
It was a race won by pushing a balloon, without using your hands, across a finish line with just your nose.
I was petrified and refused to play.
Why was I petrified?
Because my mother, for as long as I could remember, had told me,
"Be careful, Kerri! Don't put that in your mouth or by your face! If it pops, you could inhale it and you'd suffocate on it!"
We used to get balloons at the bank when we went and I can remember wondering why they'd give out such traps of sure death to kids.
The bank clearly must hate children.
Looking back, I laugh, thinking about all the haphazard things that would have had to go wrong for me to have inhaled and suffocated on a balloon fragment.
I'd never met or heard of anyone else who even knew someone who that had happened to,
so surely it couldn't have been that common.
To hear my mom talk, though, you would have thought it was a sure thing.
Like it happened all the time.
A common childhood issue, such as Slap Cheek or Pink Eye.
Chicken Pox, Measles, Balloon Suffocation.
Balloons equaled death.
Death that was almost as sure as the one you would suffer if you twisted your swing and let it unwind and twirl you.
You could get your neck caught in the chains, you know.
But I love the planning. At least I THINK I do.
My family probably questions it as I go into convulsions over something or another.
I love thinking about colors and themes and favors and the cake.
It's what caused me to throw Alena the biggest fifth birthday bash the world has ever known.
A princess party complete with a castle for the kids to eat in. Each stone hand sponged.
I made Justin rent a dragon costume and come out screaming trying to grab the kids.
At least it was SUPPOSED to be a dragon.
In reality it looked more like a giant gray lizard that hadn't had its skin wet down for a few days and was about to meet its dried out death.
I wore a Pepto-Bismol colored dress I'd bought at Ross that I later returned because there was NO WAY I was wearing that thing again.
Her cake looked like a wedding cake.
And all this is funny because when I asked her what her favorite birthday ever was, it was the one where I let her have a whole bunch of friends over and they ran around like loons with no real plan to speak of.
I have made 20 fancy tea party hats out of paper plates and hand painted little tea sets for each guest before,
and she remembers the loons.
It's all for me, I guess.
It's so that I can look back at the pictures and feel like I did something that showed them that their day was special to me, too.
Their Mama celebrated them.
And I do.
Every booger eating one.