Parenthood: November 2008 Archives

The other day my mother ordered Ewan's tombstone birthday cake from a bakery by her house. He had asked for an owl on top and the words "BE WARE OR BE DEAD" written on it. I told my mother that I didn't want his name on it because that would be just too weird. I was initially upset that I wouldn't be making Ewan's cake because I always make the kids' birthday cakes from scratch so that when they're all grown up, they'll sit in their college dorm rooms, reminiscing just how good they had it back at home and talking about how their mama made their cakes from scratch. And because I can be dramatic, I started to worry about how I'm not making one of their cakes this year and how, years later, after Ewan robs a bank and is taken into custody and gives his first interview on "Dateline NBC," he'll tell Stone Phillips: "You know, it really started on my fourth birthday, when my mom didn't make my cake. She bought it. At a bakery. I'm not even sure if it was made from organic ingredients."

STONE: "So that's when it all started going downhill for you."

EWAN: "Exactly. It was like she stopped caring. I wanted her to be like the mom on all those craft blogs. You know the ones where the moms sew their kids their own art smocks and always make their kids these perfect cakes? She made me an Elmo cake one year and it looked like a giant bloodclot with eyes."

STONE: "Truly frightening."

Which reminds me, when we were at Sam's, the boys went nuts over these gingerbread house-making kits. Although they begged, I could see in the future the hot mess that this innocent-looking gingerbread house kit would most definitely be and I told them "no." Plus I have this thing about food just sitting out all willy-nilly. Grody.

I'm busy working on deadlines, getting my house in order to accommodate 12 people for Thanksgiving, baking, and getting ready to anchor the morning show on Friday. I've strung the first bit garland, actual bits of cedar and pine all wired together and hung in the archway between the dining and living room. I'm sure I'll regret it a week later when all the needles are on the floor.


I'm also struggling with my fourth sinus infection of the season, jeebus, I know, it's so old already. My vocal tonality alternates between that of a 90-year-old chain-smoking Bette Davis and Shaggy from "Scooby Doo." It has provided me with hours of endless fascination. I'm going to record myself a new voicemail greeting in this hot new voice.

(I've received some helpful emails about the Neti Pot but I am terrified of drowning and doubt that I'll ever come around to using it.)
Ewan's birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year and this is also the second year that we're hosting Thanksgiving at our house. When you have a big family, holidays are mostly fun except our family has, since we were kids, believed it can't count as a holiday unless everyone hosts their own individual celebrations in their own homes. Chris and I spent the first six years of married life dragging ourselves and our kids from house to house to house to house to house and driving everywhere on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We weren't ever able to eat a full meal at anyone's house because we had another meal to eat at someone else's house an hour later - and if you got there and didn't eat then DRAMA. Last year I said that it was more about control and less about the holidays and if people wanted to see us on, say Thanksgiving, the first holiday that popped into my head, then they could come to our house.

Because nothing says happy Thanksgiving like "COME EAT AT MY HOUSE OR ELSE." But I seriously didn't see what the big deal was with having all these segregated little holiday get-togethers instead of having everyone under one happy little roof.

So everyone will be here and we'll be giving thanks and celebrating Ewan's birthday. And because I always let the kids decide what kind of cake they want and I try my best to deliver, Ewan requested a tombstone chocolate cake for his birthday. He also said that he wanted a grim reaper party. A tombstone cake with grim reaper favors on Thanksgiving.

"What about a Thomas birthday?" I asked.

"NO," he refused.

"Oooh, Transformers? Optimus Prime?"


"Mommy will give you $5 to have a Transformers birthday."


I hope our guests aren't too unnerved when they see a edible tombstone on the buffet and black napkins and some of Ewan's sickles around the house for decoration. Pilgrims had sickles, right?

(Unrelated: this was one of the best episodes of South Park ever. When they burned down Hot Topic? Hysterical.)

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Dana asks: "Thanksgiving Traditions: Yours or Your Mother's?"