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Birthday surprise

Written by: Suzanna Palmer October 14 2012 If you have a kid—or have ever taken care of someone else’s for more than thirty seconds—you know that children have a knack for the unexpected. They can take you by surprise and turn your world (and your plans) upside down in an instant. Jacob has been doing...

Written by: Suzanna Palmer

If you have a kid—or have ever taken care of someone else’s for more than thirty seconds—you know that children have a knack for the unexpected. They can take you by surprise and turn your world (and your plans) upside down in an instant. Jacob has been doing just that since he was born.

But the surprise he gave me last Monday on his one-year birthday took the cake (literally).

After seeing way too many adorable “smash the cake” photos—I recently and finally took the plunge into the world of Pinterest—I decided we had to try one for his first birthday.

So, I spent all day eating cake batter and frosting slaving in the kitchen.

The first cake I made was a spawn of the “a child’s first birthday is no reason to stuff them full of sugar and other rubbish” philosophy. In other words, it tasted terrible and was just plain ugly—so ugly, I was sure the equally healthy frosting I had planned didn’t stand a chance at improving it. So, after a few minutes of trying (and failing) to figure out how to salvage the banana, applesauce, and whole wheat flour monstrosity, down the disposal it went.

My second attempt, a from-scratch cake with homemade frosting, trimmed down to his size, fared much better. It was cute and delicious, as birthday cake should be.

Unfortunately, my little stinker will never know it.

After snapping some photos of him having a blast with the balloons—which, incidentally, I intended as background decor and he turned into the main attraction—I set the cake next to him.

I expected the next few minutes to be a buttercream blur. I couldn’t wait to see his chubby little fingers coated in frosting, his chipmunk cheeks stuffed full of yummy goodness.

But, instead of the look of sheer joy you’d expect from a baby trying his first taste of cake, I got tears. Talk about the unexpected, every time we tried to get him to taste the frosting or the cake—or even touch it—he cried. And, I don’t mean one glistening tear. I mean, a full-on temper tantrum.

After a few minutes, I began to wonder if it was the frosting that was deterring him. (From the moment, he touched it, he tried to shake it off his fingers, getting more frustrated by the second that it stuck.) So, I offered him a piece of the plain, burnt-ish edges that I had trimmed off before assembling my jilted masterpiece.

I can’t say it was a huge hit, but he clearly considered it edible—a slight boon to my wounded cake-making ego. Excited at this small ray of hope, we decided to roll with the punches—since what else can you do when you’re a parent of a finicky one-year-old?—and placed a few pieces of cake onto the sheet next to him. We threw a candle on top for good measure and belted out “Happy Birthday” with all the vim and vigor you’d expect from two parents who had just agreed that next year they’d be celebrating with store-bought cookies instead.

Here's a play-by-play of our cake smash attempt.

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