The 15th anniversary of the extraction of the Middlest Child was fast approaching and with my brain and days filled to near overflowing I felt it best to be as organised as far ahead of time as possible.
I attempted, with some 4-6 weeks to spare, to extract some sort of information or idea about what he may like to do to celebrate the occasion. This resulted in a fair amount of “I don’t know” which is pretty much the extent of his vocabulary. At least, I think he said “I don’t know”.
It is hard to decipher the low and deep mumbles that rumble up through his throat and half-heartedly slip from between his partially parted lips. Mostly because they tend to lose any sort of motivation and simply flomp in the direction of the floor, because his posture does nothing to encourage it do to otherwise.
So I went with “I don’t know” because, well, I don’t know what he said.
Over a period of days and something akin to the Spanish Inquisition, I ultimately established that he wanted a few friends over so they could play Dungeons and Dragons; a game my dorky brother played in his youth with his equally dorky friends.
But, having agreed to do for my children what they want to do for their birthdays a long time ago, because I believe birthdays are very important, I said “Okay”. Then had to steel myself for the challenge of determining what sort of cake he wanted.
I struggle immensely with instructions of “whatever” and “I don’t know”. I more than happy to create from (almost) scratch, but I do need an anchor point. A vague and broad theme even. Just not nothing.
This went on for several more days before I googled “Dungeons and dragons cakes” and spent an awful lot of time saying “Fuck that!”. That was until I came across the D&D handbook in cake form, and I thought “Yup, I could give that one a go and screw it up.”
I ran the idea by the child in question. “I don’t know” he almost mumbled at me.
T’was a week or so later when he approached and asked if I was still okay to do a book cake for him.
“Can you do the Book of [indecipherable], [no idea] with the seal of [nope, nothing, I have no idea what words were just used] of [….]”
“Um, I guess so,” I replied. “Could you maybe just show me?”
And he did.
Whilst I was able to pretty much convince myself I could replicate the thing of the something seal (there were no seals at all, which only confused me more) book of Indecipherable, it gave me absolutely no clue as to the words he had used.
Not that it mattered from a cake making perspective. But let’s face it, there’s Instagramming to be done and I didn’t want to look like a complete ignoramus.
“Cool!” I said, faking … basically everything. “How about you send me the link to that … and that … oh, and that and I’ll see what I can do.”
Thus ensuring I knew precisely what he had ordered and so I could Instagram appropriately.
As always, there were two gatherings; one for family, and one for friends. There are far too many family to even consider having the two gatherings at the same time. I tried it once. It was horrible.
In such cases, there are usually two cakes of differing design. In this instance. he was happy for it to be replicated. Unperturbed – actually, excessively perturbed – I convinced myself I could use Week 1’s Gathering: Family as the experiment for the design.
Which saw me carefully measuring the white chocolate for the white choc mud cake, ensuring I had just the right amount for the following week, and cutting out a stencil of the seal of Akatosh using a pair of child-sized safety scissors. Not because I feared cutting myself, although that, as always, is a very real fear I probably need to have, but because the hobby knife thing I have had sitting in the same drawer for four years and used twice is no longer in said drawer.
Cake made and Instragrammed, using hashtag and references to the Seal of Arakon (I have no idea, I just knew it wasn’t Aragog – that’s the spider from Harry Potter. I think.) It was well received, because the Middlest Child is nice and chillaxed and is pretty happy with most things, unlike his brothers who need everything to be just so.
I had a week to consider how I could better do the Seal of I Have No Freaking Idea But It Starts With A for the cake for when his friends gathered to D&D, smell, be loud, and sing the HB’s.
During this time, I spoke with some of the younguns at work, whom love my cakes, think I’m a “Cool Mum” and give me tips on how I can be even cooler! I know, I know, hard to imagine, but apparently there is room for improvement in the Cool Mum Stakes.
I collected some great tips, promised I would show them photos upon my return to work the following week, then left on the Friday afternoon with plans to knock the cake off, prep the cake toppings, and chillax for a bit.
Knocking the cake off before 10pm proved near impossible as the Middlest Child himself had taken to consuming the cooking chocolate as a snack. Which pisses me off. Possibly more than when he chooses to consider the luminescent blue zoo animal sprinkles as an entire meal.
I made him go to the supermarket to replenish stocks. I felt a bit bad cos it was nearly his birthday, but then thought “Fuck it” and we all know that it is the thought that counts.
Anyhoo, cake done, dark chocolate melted and smeared over a piece of acetate (you know, the bits of plastic paper that used to be used on overhead projectors?) and wine consumed.
I spent Saturday morning constructing the masterpiece; shaping the cake, trimming the sheet of chocolate, cutting out more stencils of the dragon thing that was to top the cake … with, I might add, the hobby knife, which had eventually been located in sewing and other random stuff drawer, in the ziplock bag that contains 27 identical allen keys from Ikea. Why I didn’t think to look there for the craft knife previously, I have no idea.
Where else would it possibly be?!
I then had approximately four goes at getting the dragon-seal just right. I must say, I was impressed with the outcome, even if I did say so myself. It’s rare that I do say that … but this one? Not bad at all.
“There you go,” I said to him. “Your Book of Dragon Board, Elder Scrolls, Seal of Akatosh. Do you like it?”
“Dragonborn,” was the first reply. Which made a nice change from the barely decipherable “I don’t know”.
He did acknowledge he was happy with it. I couldn’t wait to use the tips young men at work had given me when we caked later in the evening.
And so I did. I lit the candles, we sung the song, and the candles were extinguished.
“I was going to do something more adventurous,” I told the teenagers gathered. “But I took an arrow in the knee.”
Amidst the groans I was asked “Did you google Skyrim memes just so you could say that?”, whist another googled Skyrim means just to make sure I had quoted correctly.
All in all, I think I did okay. I might even, soon, maybe, provide a step-by-step of how I did the Book of Dragonborn, Elder Scrolls Seal of Akatosh birthday cake. I fully intend to. I just have to make it happen.
I even managed to Instagram it correctly. Wins all round.
Now, never make me do it again.