I've just consulted the calendar and in a little over 4 weeks its Bargy's birthday. Now I'm in a spin.
Can you guess what it is that's putting me in a state of high anxiety? The fact that a baby can reach 2 in the blink of an eye? The thought that we don't yet have a birthday present? Or the idea of a organising a children's party?
No, its the cake. And there's a lot at stake. The cake is everything: a childhood memory, a marvellous centrepiece; an obligatory part of the party food; and the very yardstick by which parenthood is measured.
I clearly remember all my childhood birthday cakes and those of my siblings; especially the year my younger sister got to have a Batman cake. So three years ago when I set out to make Argy's 1st birthday cake, I wanted it to be memorable and spectacular. I was two months pregnant at the time and feeling quite exhausted, but pressed on with weeks of research, elaborate plans and trips to cake decorating stores. This cake was closely project-managed from start to finish.
If you haven't seen one of these (from The Australian Women's Weekly Kids' Birthday Cakes cookbook) up close before, its decorated in kilos of fondant icing and has one cake balanced precariously on the other using skewers.
In my opinion, you only make one of these if you are a professional cake decorator ... or have completely taken leave of your senses. The cake took hours and hours to decorate; finished at 2am the night before the party.
And after the candles were lit and Happy Birthday sung, no one was allowed to touch that cake. Ever. A crazed, pregnant woman stood guard, making sure of that. For a week after, I stared fondly at my handiwork. The cake grew stale. It slowly sunk on the skewers and listed ungracefully to one side. Then - I am ashamed to say - I threw it in the bin.
With the passing of time and an addition to the family, I'd like to think I have grown a little more sensible. All creations must now have less than two kilos of icing. Multi-storey concepts are out of the question. And the children are allowed to eat the cake.
Now let's see what happens in October ...