He is five years old today.

So it has been five years since I nominated the epidural as The Eighth Wonder of the World.  Five years since I held that baby for the first time and became a mom.

And now he’s so clearly not a baby.  He is a little boy (or a big boy, as he reminds me).

His curiosity is boundless.  Which car is faster?  Which whale is bigger?  Which dinosaur is older?  Can we count to infinity?  Well, can we try?  {If anyone has a good response for that last question, hit me up. Otherwise, you can find me here in the family room, attempting to count into the hundred quadrillions.}

He has his father’s astute attention to detail and love of how things work.  He has my goofiness.  And my love of chocolate.

He is stubborn — so stubborn (hi, DNA karma) — and a distinct creature of habit, yet is also sweet and sensitive.

His train obsession has slowly tapered off.  He’s not quite ready for us to move the engines and tracks out of the house yet, but he now equally loves animals, dinosaurs, all modes of transportation — and, of course, pirates.  It’s nice to spread the love beyond the toy railway gig, because, frankly, I think some of those engines in the Thomas the Train franchise are kind of assholes.  And don’t get me started on Sir Topham Hatt.  Just don’t.

So this year, the birthday request was all about pirates.  And I made the catastrophic mistake of letting him see some of the unachievable cake designs I was browsing online one day.  Because he can’t fathom that carving a cake into a boat is not really in my wheelhouse.  Or that the thought of going into a craft store nearly gives me hives.

But it’s my self-imposed Annual Baking Challenge to make my kids a decent birthday cake.  Probably because I don’t feel I’ve punished myself enough over the course of the year for any and all sins of my past.

So there was a practice cake first.  I could tell you that this is all in the name of striving for perfection, but really — it’s just designed as a way for P and I to shamelessly eat cake.

We don’t have room for the practice cake in the fridge and all the party food.  I guess there’s only one thing to do…”

We have clear roles in the cake quest.  I am in charge of design — which means ripping off the great ideas of others on Pinterest.  And because P is an engineer, I always enlist his help in the structural integrity component of the cake.  Here’s the thing:  When you ask for someone’s help, you kind of have to let them do it their way.  And when you ask an engineer to build a cake and make sure it stands, he may or may not bring tape measures and protractors to carve that practice cake into a proper boat.  But it stood like a champion.  It might have even sailed — but we were too busy eating it to find out.

The real cake was unveiled on Saturday when we had our extended family over to celebrate.  Its structure was a little more questionable than that of the practice cake, so I was forced to bind it together with toxic amounts of frosting.  It was basically a glucose overdose on a cake tray.

But it looked good!

The pirate captain approved.  Complete with his imaginary eye patch.

Come. On.  Can you believe I made that cake?  {FYI, the only acceptable response to this question is “Holy shit!  I can’t believe you made that cake! I don’t even know you anymore.”}  I mean, if you see my former self somewhere, can you show her the cake?  Because I’m pretty sure she will pass out.

{And I must credit the real cake designer — I lifted her fine invention from here.}

More importantly, can you believe I’m writing about this?  About how desperately I wanted to bake a fun cake? Again, tell the Girl I Used To Be that I said hi.

But it’s not really about the cake.  It’s about this guy.

I have big dreams for him.  Not necessarily about his career path or his level of success.  But about him always asking all those questions he likes to ask.  Always wanting to know more.  Always looking for what’s around the corner.  And always enjoying the ride.

He has had some bumps in the road over the last year, but now I can see him beginning to grow into his own skin.  I can see his confidence building, his patience slowly expanding.  I can see that it’s all starting to come together for him.

And I know — the way that a mother can know more than anyone else — that five is going to be great year for him.

Happy Birthday to my sweet boy.  I couldn’t possibly love you more.


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  1. Jen T. says:

    Tears! And I do believe you were somewhat of a pro Jello shot maker back in the day. This is totally the natural progression of that.

    • fordeville says:

      I actually don’t think I’ve ever made Jello shots, although they seem like a far easier pursuit.

  2. Uncle Punkus says:

    Tell the birthday boy that Uncle Punkus says Happy Birthday!!!

    I like that the flags on the ship resemble the colors of BU!

    • fordeville says:

      Ha, didn’t think of the collegiate flag color scheme while breaking out in hives amidst the aisles of the craft store.

  3. Steve says:

    One day, not too long from now, he will realize just what a great mom he has. He’ll come up to you and say, “I love you, Mom.” Then it will all come together. Happy Birthday to your boy. Happy Mom Day, my friend.

    • fordeville says:

      Aw thanks. So nice.
      My son is a mush for sure and the “I love you, Mom” has started already. It killed me when I put him to bed after the festivities were over and he said, “Thanks so much for my birthday, Mom.”

  4. Alicia says:

    it may or may not be the pregnancy hormones, but i cried when i read this post….bug hugs.

  5. Beth says:

    First of all, holy shit – I can not believe you made that cake!!! Second of all, very, very sweet (and I don’t mean the cake). Happy bday to the pirate king!

  6. Luisa says:

    The Crown Prince is days behind – Lighting McQueen is his cake torture of choice – but I am not as brave as you.. a friend whom is a champion cake decorator is making it – so serious kudos to you.

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