It’s Not Your Cake But You Can Have It And Eat It, Too

, , , , , , | Related | July 10, 2020

When I am five years old, my grandmother decides to buy me a personalized cake. It’s not for a special event like my birthday or anything, so I am even more excited. She arranges a meeting with the cake maker.

Cake Maker: “First, which flavor do you want?”

Me: “Chocolate!”

Grandma: “No, do a white cake. Chocolate is for boys; little girls have white cake.”

She pulls that one on me each year; my brother gets chocolate and I get white. I have learned that it’s not worth the fight; she never gets me a chocolate cake anyway.

Cake Maker: “Okay. We can do anything. So, what design do you want?”

Me: “I want a cake with three layers! With a lot of flowers, like a princess!”

The cake maker turns her gaze to my grandmother so she can confirm that it’s all right.

Grandma: “No, you can’t have that; it’s too big. And such flowers will cost too much.”

They then proceed to discuss ornaments, price, and the size in between themselves. It turns out that the size they agree on only comes in round cakes, so I don’t even get to choose the cake shape.

Already, to have adults tune me out of a conversation and to speak about me or stuff directly concerning me as if I’m not even there really irritates me as a child. Like, “Hello! I’m here! I can hear you!”

I’m not excited about this anymore.

They finally get back to me. 

Cake Maker: “So, what design do you want?”

My dream princess flower cake idea got scratched off from the start; I did not think I would need a backup idea, so…

Me: “I don’t know.”

Cake Maker: “Halloween’s coming; why not do a Halloween cake?”

Me: “Sure?”

It’s late August, so that doesn’t make sense to me, but whatever; if it’s what they’ll let me have, it’s fine. 

Cake Maker: “What makes you think about Halloween?”

Me: *Suddenly getting inspired* “Cats! A black cat!”

Grandma is a dog person and hates cats.

Grandma: “No, I’m not getting you a d*** cat cake.”

Cake Maker: “How about a witch with a little cat in front of the moon or something?”

I’m thinking, “Anything to get my cat here!”

Me: “Okay. I love the night sky and stars! Can we have stars and the moon in the background?”

Cake Maker: “Yes. Do you want to see the witch fully from feet to hat top or just the face?”

Me: “Full!”

I’m thinking, “A pretty dress and hat outfit, yay!”

Cake Maker: “Okay, maybe we can do her on a broomstick or with a bubbling cauldron. Which color do you want her dress?”

Me: “Black.”

Cake Maker: *To my grandma* “We can’t do black. We have to mix a bunch of coloring together and it tastes terrible.”

They are — again! — ignoring me and picking the color between themself. 

They get back to me.

Cake Maker: “Which color do you want the cat? It can’t be black.”

I default to my favorite color.

Me: “Pink?”

Cake Maker: *Almost concerned* “Oh, pink cats are not real, darling.”

Grandma: *Laughing at me* “Yes, cats are not pink.”

Now, I’m angry. I’m thinking, “It’s a cake! I can color a cat pink in my coloring books, so why not on a cake? Witches are not real either, but we are having one! And why are you laughing at me?!”

Knowing this kind of talk won’t pass with Grandma, I resort to just answering with the color that seems to agree with her.

Me: “Okay, then white.”

I didn’t care about this cake anymore. I was done. They blamed my crankiness on a child’s short attention span. I just threw random colors at their last questions: “Which color do you want her skin?” “Green.” “Which color do you want her hair?” “Orange.” And they tuned me out — again! — to pick whatever was left themselves. 

Months passed and I forgot about the cake. It was November when I got a call from Grandma telling me it was ready. Grandma, Mom, and I went to pick it up, and they made a big show of the “reveal” for me, expecting a huge explosion of happiness and my mind being blown. They opened the box… and… my face, in one word: DECEPTION. 

It was nothing I wanted.

There was no cat, no night sky, no stars, no dress, no hat, no broomstick, no cauldron… all the little details I chose and was hoping for were not there!

It was just an ugly witch face on a huge yellow circle with a blue rim. To me, it looked the same as the cheap, ready-made grocery store cake. It had nothing special or personalized! I forced myself to say, “Thank you,” to the maker and Grandma, because it’s what you should say. The only fun element was a gum used to make a 3D tooth sticking out of the witch’s mouth, and quick enough, my mom mindlessly picked it for herself. 

I got chewed out by Grandma and the cake maker for not being grateful or happy about “my” cake, as they spent a lot of money and time to get me this, etc. 

I don’t know how they proposed me a Halloween theme when I originally wanted a flowery princess theme. I don’t know what they expected when they overruled all my choices. I can only guess they were under the impression that I would be delighted with their choices or that a child would be happy with anything presented to them.

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