He's also finally stopped shoving aside all the finger foods I put on his tray and sittin' there squawking at me with his little mouth agape, waitin' for that spoon-lady to show up and shovel in the oatmeal and applesauce as fast as she can. It's a good thing, too, because I wasn't much relishing the thought of puttin' his first birthday cake through the food processor.
I made a plain old chocolate cake with chocolate buttercreme frosting for the big day. The cake came from an old Brownie Scout recipe, as lore has it, and it's one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever eaten. I topped the whole thing with a ring of Mini-m&ms for just a little pop of color, and I'm truly happy with how it turned out.
Y'all see those lemons back there behind the cake in the picture?
Funny story about those lemons.
I bought those lemons to display on the kitchen table about a month ago. They're lovely little lemons, so bright and fresh and summery. They're also, um, faux, and if you could see them up close and clearly, you'd note that because of the fact that they're all welded together in one big clump, from certain angles the pile looks like its defying gravity, with one or two lemons just sorta hangin' out of the arrangement into mid-air, as if they tumbled off the heap at just the wrong moment.
In historic downtown Pompeii.
So Friday afternoon, Al comes in from work with a bag in his hand, and he's just a beamin'. PROUD, this man is.
Bought us the makings for Lemon Drop martinis on the way home, hon.
(He's got a bottle of lemon flavored vodka, and he's brandishing it like he stomped the dang potatoes and coiled up the copper wire and painstakingly bottled the stuff himself. I love that about men, don't you? I plan and shop and cook forty-leven meals a week around here, and he's strutting around like a rooster because he stopped by the Seb'm-Eleb'm and picked up a bottle of fancy hooch.) (I'm just sayin'.)
YUMMY! I smile back at him.
He unloads the bag, taking out this and that and lining it all up on the kitchen counter, like trophies. Steps back to admire it all, and sidesteps over to the cabinet to pull out the shaker and martini glasses.
Lemon juice? I ask.
Yes please, he answers. I was gonna buy some but then I thought, NO, we don't need any lemons, we have plenty, thanks to my lovely wife!
We don't have any lemons, lovey.
He laughs, and walks over to the kitchen table and smiles back at me. We do have lemons. See?
Oh yeah! I laugh. Grab one of those.
Hee hee hee.
I was a little nervous about baking Peabody's cake this year because I'm still trying to live down the disaster that was Bean's first birthday cake. She'd not yet fully outgrown that common-in-babies allergic reaction to the albumin in egg whites, so I had to make her strawberry Jello cake with all egg yolks, and we were down at the Isle of Palms in South Carolina stayin' in a rental house with a strange (as in unknown as well as bizarrely possessed of certain qualities theretofore only attributed to the SUN) oven.
Well, the unfortunate combination of the egg-yolks-only batter and the series of SOLAR FLARES that oven put out over the course of the recommended baking time resulted in Bean having not a cake per se, so much as a round, pink and sooty-black birthday briquette. We captured the Big Moment on video, too, me proudly carryin' the thing over and placing it on the table in front of our baby, holding my breath in anticipation of her happy, delighted squeals of ecstasy, followed by her staring long and hard at it in unmasked horror and dismay.
Al does not let any mention of any birthday cake ever slip by without a lengthy and detailed recitation of the tragic tale of the Bean's Igneous Strawberry-Flavored Birthday Rock. (We will need to address this in counseling someday.)
Peabody's cake was my culinary Phoenix, risin' up proud and chocolatey from the disappointing ashes of that rosy pink rubble heap.
No horror or dismay there.
I blogged about more puckerable stuff at 5 Minutes for Parenting today.