A Birthday, A Monster, and A Murder

Nov 21 2010

Today was my son Ian’s 11-year-old birthday party.

I made a terrible faux pas.

Ian’s birthday is close to Thanksgiving.  Like anyone with a child whose birthday is close to a holiday, I try to make his birthday special by not allowing the holiday to bleed all over his special day.  Ian’s birthday isn’t about turkey or pumpkin pie, cornucopias or fall leaf decorations.  This year, Ian’s birthday is about turning 11 and being a boy.  Being cool.  Blaring rock music and playing football with his friends.

That’s why I was so excited when I found a green monster cake at the grocery store.  Technically, I suppose it breaks my Separation of Holiday and Birthday Rule.  I mean, I have to admit that grabbing a premade cake is a holiday inspired shortcut to allow me more time during Thanksgiving prep.

And, granted, it’s not a three-tiered, homemade, fondant-covered masterpiece like my sister-in-law Kim made for my eldest daughter Abby on her 11th birthday.

But Ian’s a boy.

He was a zombie for Halloween this year.

Last year, he was the victim of a spider that was sucking the life out of him.

Which clearly made him feel joyful.

And the year before that, he was a vampire.

In short, polkadotted fondant’s going to be rather under-appreciated by him.

Which is why I didn’t spend a lot of time feeling bad about taking a Thanksgiving week shortcut with a store bought cake.

Especially a store bought monster cake.  Because monsters are cool and scary and awesome and perfect for 11-year-old boys who want to be zombies and spider victims and vampires.  Right?  Can I hear an “amen?”  Amen!

Imagine my horror when I arrived at home with my special find, transferred it to my cake plate (hey – it’s store-bought, but I can pretend I made it) and looked closely at it for the first time.

And discovered…

… that it was Oscar.

Of Grouch fame.

The green monster from Sesame Street.

The show for preschoolers.

Yes.  I bought my 11-year-old son a preschool cake for his birthday party.

Oh, the horror.  The way my heart fell.  The way I knew I’d failed my son.  But only for a split second.  Because we moms are resilient problem-solvers.

I did what any semi-creative mom would do in the same situation.

I slaughtered Oscar the Grouch.

I committed a grisly, premeditated Sesame Street murder.

Some drizzly red icing and a well-placed knife and I was back in business.

The boys?  They thought it was AWESOME.