Thursday, July 7, 2011

When Pigs Fly

It's that time of year again.

Counting down, getting close to my boys' birthday in late July.

Plans must be laid, preparations made.

Not the least of which is the cakes.

I make awesome birthday cakes, my one claim to domestic fame.

Think I'm exaggerating (as I have often proclaimed my complete disinterest and ineptitude at most things housewiverly)?


Jake's "Very Hungry Caterpillar" cake, 2009
Ethan's "Lapras" Pokemon cake, 2010
(Want to see them all? See this post HERE)

In years past, I have pretty much known what Jacob's current favorite characters were, his obsessions up front and obvious. I have asked the rhetorical question: "Jake do you want a (insert favorite character here) cake this year?" And he has said "Yes." And that's it. Case closed.

Ethan's choice has been obvious and easy some years. Others have required research and negotiation, a delicate balancing between his desire for elaborateness and my ability to make 2 cakes in one day & evening while managing to still get enough sleep to function at the party.

One Pokemon of his choosing: yes! An elaborate battle scene with multiple Pokemon and trainers? Not in this lifetime, kid.

But Ethan will communicate with me, we'll hash it out together, sometime over the next week or so. If Wilton has ever made a cake pan shaped even vaguely like what he wants, I'll head to E-bay to acquire. If not, I'll hit up the internet coloring pages to create a pattern.

For Jacob, on the other hand, this year is a bit of a mystery; his cake, a puzzle that needs to be solved.

You see, this year, he is paying attention. He has been talking about "Birthday Cake" for about a week now. Constantly. He REALLY wants to help me make it, and is very specific that it MUST be round.

For some years now, I have been a bit smugly pleased that my son is "less rigid" than most other kids on the spectrum. I figured he was just innately more easygoing, thanked my lucky starts about it, thought it was his inborn "happy-go-lucky" personality shining through. (Can you see the smack-down coming?)

Turns out? It was because he was mostly just oblivious! As he has "woken up" into the world, is processing so much more, really understanding what is going on around him in a much more profound way... he is getting REALLY OPINIONATED, and well, rigid about things.

Le sigh.

So I can't just make a reasonable suggestion, have him go: "yes" and just carry on with whatever I make his cake to be. He wants it HIS WAY.

Now, if he were better at communicating what he wants, this would not be be MUCH easier. But he's not. Autism is a communication disorder, see. I know this seems like such a little thing, barely a blip in the big scheme of things,

But I know if I don't get it right he will be miserable. If his cake is "just right" what he really wants? Happiness will ensue.

No pressure here folks, really.

Well last night at bedtime I got him in an expansive, expressive mood. When he started up with the "I want my birthday cake, Mom!" routine,  I actually got him to answer some questions about it.

What he appears to be telling me is that he wants: a ROUND cake with layers "a tall cake, Mom."

Also? Chocolate. "Brown, darker brown chocolate cake!" No doubts about that. Damn!

As I make two cakes every year for the party (Twins!) and not everyone likes or can eat chocolate, I have always made one chocolate and one vanilla or flavored vanilla (lemon/orange/strawberry).

Since Ethan is a chocolate fiend and believes that non-chocolate cakes are a disgrace to desert-hood and have no reason to exist, well, you can see that Ethan's cake has always been the chocolate one.

So now? I am going to have to make two chocolate cakes (one gluten free for Jake) AND some lemon-vanilla cupcakes for the non chocolate crowd.

But all that aside, back to Jacob's elaborate plans. If I've got this straight (and this is for sure what he told me tonight, whether it changes tomorrow remains to be seen), he wants this cake to have:

"Yellow frosting, mom. Yellow AND orange frosting."

"OK. And what kind of picture do you want on it, Jake?"

"A pig!" No hesitation there.

Really? A pig?

"Jake, you want... a... pig?"

"Yes, Mommy! A white pig, Mommy! With green eyes, Mommy!"

"OK, a white pig with green eyes.  Jake, you got it." 

I kiss him a final goodnight, climb down the ladder from his top bunk, and then hear a little voice in the dark:

"With wings, Mommy, a white pig with wings."

So this year, in late July, be prepared to see a white pig with green eyes, flying across a TALL birthday cake. (And then coming to a blog post near you, soon.)

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