Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Conquering Fears!

Last week was my son's 4th birthday party. If you know my son, you'll know that he's obsessively into sharks. He has about 500 shark toys, is constantly drawing sharks, and his favorite things to watch on TV are episodes from the famous "Shark Week." His favorites types of sharks are the great white and the megaladon. For those of you who are not aware, a megaladon is the largest prehistoric shark.
Naturally, when I started planning this party, I knew that sharks would have to be the theme.
Now, if you know me, you'll know that I have quite an intense phobia of sharks. I can usually handle seeing sharks with their mouths closed but when they're grinning and baring all I scream and hide. It's pretty pathetic, I know, but it's always been this way. Face your fears gets taken to a whole other level when you end up with a son who takes out 10 shark books from the library at a time, each one containing grizzlier pictures than the previous one. I have to constantly be on guard throughout my house for fear of finding one of these books or toys staring me in the face.
This posed a bit of a problem when I was sketching out the birthday cake. I wanted a giant shark coming out of the water head first with his mouth wide open. How was I going to do this? Surely I'd need a point of reference.. I ended up using a foot-and-a-half long rubber shark toy that I've grown, after quite a few months of mental training, used to looking at. Its features are just a tad off, so it's menace factor is not as bad as it could be. For specifics such as eye location and positioning of the teeth, I asked my husband to refer to pictures of real sharks and report back to me. I must say it worked out. We're a good team. :-)

An exciting bit about this cake was that it was the first cake where I've attempted to use rice crispie treats to mold the decorative part. The shark was entirely molded from these treats, frosted in buttercream and then thickly layered with homemade fondant. Working with these treats proved to be a fun experience and one I will definitely tackle again!

My son's party was a blast. It was my favorite kind of party - an intimate affair - with family and close family friends. There were shark games, shark bites, and we even gave away shark bait as prizes! After having spent hours designing and creating my son's birthday cake, something happened to me that never has before. I became quite attached to my shark creation atop the cake. I couldn't bear to let the kids take it apart to sample, much to their disappointment. After the party, I carefully wrapped it up and put it away in my fridge where it safely sits, still today. I've no plans of getting rid of it anytime soon... Every day, I peek in and stare lovingly at my fearless creation. :-)

Happy Birthday, Honey Pie!

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