I've been having a few domestic adrenalin moments lately. The first was a classic -- remembering to set the video timer to tape Dr Who, but forgetting to change the tape, which was Best Beloved's prized collection of the 2nd series of Little Britain (given an almost daily airing). This mistake swam upwards into my consciousness when BB whispered seductively in my ear at a gallery opening if I'd remembered to set the tape, and I had a bad feeling about it. The look on my face made him think about what he'd been last viewing (see, his fault for not changing the tape over!!) and when I turned around he'd dashed out the gallery door to the car and was battling peak hour traffic to change the tape in time. He came back half an hour later glumly announcing that he'd got there 5 minutes into the show, which effectively wiped out that week's Margery-Dawes-and-the-Fat-fighters skit. Meanwhile I'd drunk myself into a stupor from guilt and spite (starting with 'oops' with the first glass of wine to 'fucking Dr Who rules my life, didn't sign anything saying I had to get things right every day' by the third) and made him be the designated driver for the night.
The second was thanks to Bumblebee's birthday. Every year I put on a fun party and go all out in the laziest way possible to give him a good time with minimal stress. We've done picnics in the park, a sleepover, a night-time back-yard fire, you get the picture. Anyway, this year I decided to make it really simple -- no party, just a cake brought into school and a trip to his grandparent's farm to go fishing with his grandad. I thought I'd just buy a cake. Easy. Then I decided to make a cake. Then I snapped out of it and went for the compromise -- buy the cake, decorate it myself. I've never known kids to reject a Woolies sponge, but I've known plenty to turn their noses up at anything fancier.
I decided to make a Rainbow Serpent cake. I had a basic idea; cut up a few sponges, lay out the shape, cover it in brown icing, then some coloured coconut, and then swathe it in lollies. Sounds easy, doesn't it?
I dropped B at school at 9am, promising to be back at 10.30 with his fabulous cake, which I hadn't started yet. By 9.45, this is what I had:
I had made a batch of beautiful chocolate butter frosting, but swiftly realised that it wasn't a big enough batch to cover the whole cake, and didn't have enough ingredients to make another batch. Fuck! I quickly whipped up a bowl of useless runny icing (you know, icing sugar, milk and cocoa) which I tried to smooth over the sides (having already frosted the top) but it kept running down the sides and pooling on the tray, and bits off cake would pull off with the spatula. Fuck fuck fuckedy fuck! My heart was racing with every attempt to hid the crappy yellow sponge and the cracks between the pieces making up the snake.
Bugger Bugger Bum Shit Poo. I was going to be the worst mummy in the whole world, bringing in a daggy cake that would scar him for life. We'd have to move schools, nay cities.
Finally, at 10.15, I ended up with a lot of grey hairs and this:
A long brown turd lying in a pool of runny brown mud. Time for some fast moves.
The only thing I could do was use lots and lots of lollies. I used the coconut (dyed with food colouring), I added lots of M&Ms to cover gaps and cracks, and then sprinkled the pools of icing liberally with hundreds and thousands. When I'd finished it looked like this:
Which looked a lot better, but still nerve-wracking. Would B think it was cool? Will I pass the classroom test? My heart was thumping, I was weak from nerves over that bloody icing, and the only silver lining I could see was that at least I could blog about it. I managed to get the thing into school intact (the part where I almost tripped on the step going in I could have done without).
And they loved it. "WOW, that's so coooool!" was the general cry; they ate every skerrick and then the little buggers scraped the tray clean of icing:
It was all over in 15 minutes. It took me most of the day for me to recover. Apparently they went wild for the rest of the day and who could blame them, with so much cocoa and food colouring? The teacher forgave me because it was the last day of term...
Next year I'm throwing another party, far less stressful!