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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Autism and loss


If you have an autistic child, you lose a great many things. Parents of autistic children are martyr’s of self sacrifice. I for one, would be the first to lie down and let my children trample all over me. [translation = deep proprioceptive input] Some of those sacrifices are huge and important. Other things are tiny and insignificant.

One of the most hugest things that I lost, by having autistic children, was the joy of creating a birthday cake, once a year for each child. Matching the cake to the child, chocolate for one, lemon for another and…….well no cake at all for him, come to think of it. To make the perfect cake to match the perfect child, is no mean feat. Although I fancy myself as quite a baker, if truth be told, I am but a mere amateur.

Once you have chosen the perfect cake, you have the delight of toying with the perfect frosting, the endless possibilities and combinations. The only greater pleasure in making the perfect cake, with the perfect frosting, is decorating the perfect cake perfectly. None of that shop bought rubbish around here, on no. We have far more exacting standards. [translation = self imposed]

It was alright when they were little. [translation = less discerning] I could make a cake shaped like a banana, [translation = a preferred food] or a house, [translation = indifferent] or an ark, [translation = animals are o.k. as long as you avoid bears] generic story book characters, [translation = as long as it’s not associated with any specific illustration] But as they grew older, unless I could create a perfect replica of Thomas and his rabble or Pokemons and their gangs, then I’m afraid my efforts really wouldn’t do at all.

Whilst it looks close enough to you and me, for other people, it was a travesty, a sham and an inferior interloper. No room for an artsy approximation. [translation = creative license withdrawn, and non renewable] No matter how hard I tried, I was always going to miss the mark. Unless it was perfect, [translation = uniformly manufactured] it was trash.

How does one solve such a difficulty? How can one advance one’s cake making skills to meet ever higher standards? Will this be the end of life as we know it, if home made birthday cakes are allowed to slip away from our grasp? Will my psyche remain intact if I am barred from performing this act of maternal devotion?

Maybe.

The solution? Well for me, or for us, the answer was complete parental capitulation. Buy the cake and stick a plastic something or other on there. Result = perfection and perfect happiness. How does one cope with this change in events, this new status quo? Mourn the loss of love at this unique offering? Perhaps, but alternatively, I can count the hours of labour that I’ve saved, [translation = days] whilst I sit down and pretend to eat ‘shop bought’ cake with a happy person. [translation = but only after I’ve washed the plastic decoration to a sterile standard]

Afterall, cake is severely "over-rated."
Now I know that there are a few amongst us, who are of a "scientific disposition" and doubt my powers of deductive reasoning, logic and conclusion.

For those who need such proof, I can only say that given my mathematical genius, I am happy to supply the proof that you crave so desperately, with the following formula.

If we allow for all possible variables such as 'sweat of brow,' strain on bifocals, challenge to fine motor skills of the elderly, permitting, plus or minus additional factors of grey hair, wrinkles and blood pressure, not to dismiss or in any way devalue the contribution of the co-efficient of excessive stirring causing pain to a factor of 3.33 recurring, recognised in the well known medical condition of housemaids's knee, or should that be elbow[?] as a ratio against the happiness of a child, measured to a standard deviation, not to be confused with deviance, the result adds up......perfectly.

Please feel free to supply your own formula together with your workings in full by return.

13 comments:

natterandramblings said...

Pikachu, I choose you.

Numel, I choose you....

yummy a chocolate pokemon cake :-)

Never fret when their taste buds grow older they will prefer your cake than store bought ones especially if you let them help decorate....

ManagerMom said...

It's definitely a phase that they will soon grow out of. Meanwhile, to help them remember how wonderful you are, make your gorgeous creations for other holidays. They are stunning! Very impressive!

Club 166 said...

"... I for one, would be the first to lie down and let my children trample all over me. [translation = deep proprioceptive input] ..."

Thanks for the laugh!

As to the cakes, I will e-mail you my snail mail address. You may thus find satisfaction by baking your cakes for me and my family, and then sending them here. Am willing to e-mail pics of happy grateful people after cakes arrive.

Joe

Melissa said...

You are very talented!
In all your free time (HAHA!!) you could start a business... make cakes for others that aren't quite as descerning, but would enjoy the lovely confections!

Jerry Grasso said...

We've been through this at our house too....one year we got that picture icing done of SpongeBob with toys on top of it. Big hit.

This year, Mom made him a Betty Crocker cake. We outgrew it.

However, he looks very happy in that Birthday picture.....

a mommy said...

Like you, when they were little I made the cakes. Only mine didn't look like yours -- they were quite pitiful, but very lovingly made.

As they got older, I got the name and number of an extremely competent baker who works out of her home. That woman is positively a sorceress. Perfect approximations of things you can't get at the grocery - like Baby Einstein (the littlest one's fixation) and scooby doo - but no commercial one, a picture of the whole gang rendered perfectly in frosting.

That way we're all happy. The cake rocks, and they are pleased.

Personally, I stink at cake, but I make extremely elaborate cookies. Also not particularly loved at home. Alas.

kristina said...

Charlie is still nominally gluten and casein free or I'd offer you our address too and you see A Lot of Frosting Gone In a Very Few Seconds.

I have to be careful about making cake!

I spent a fine chunk of $$$ on a lovely new iPod for my sweet guy and he looks at it, hands it back to me, and fiddles with the dusty case of the old one.

And over the years I have come to embrace my guy's love---the ocean, swimming, over-chlorinated pools---that once made me shiver.

Joeymom said...

I just usually do a sheet cake with plastic dinosaurs stuck on top. However, for Joey's birthday this year, I got a fancy pan that made "cupcakes" shaped like train cars- it was a big hit, because the cakes could be easily pilfered, held in the hand, and eaten without mess in front of the TV.

aspiemom said...

I gave up pretty cakes.

I used to give "Ronn" birthday parties with nice cakes, fancy, from the store, etc.

After a couple of times, I wised up. The kids could care less about the pretty cake. They wanted a lit candle, 2 bites of frosting, 1 bite of cake and whoooooosh--off they went.

But I'm not a crafty wafty like yourself.

The cake looked beautiful!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Cake........the world's most perfect food. I don't think it needs much addition to the moist goodness. I've lucked out because nobody around my house even likes frosting. A light powdered sugar dusting and a candle, and that's it.

Did you really make all those cakes? I'm awed, inspired and drooling all at the same time.

KAL said...

You make me laugh. An amateur? Ha! I think not, they're works of art! Can you give me tips on making a Thomas the Tank Engine cake for our third? I'm still new at this, but the first two birthdays were sad, plain round affairs (one for each). That and they hate cake... I love the birthday pic.

Tera said...

My son always wants to decorate his own...so, we compromise. I make the cake, he decorates it to his standards. Can't go wrong there! He always thinks it's perfection, and because he does, so do I.

Anonymous said...

We are lucky in that ANY cake will do as long as in contains sugar. Unfortunatly more than one person singing Happy Birthday sends him screaming in to the other room.

Maybe we should take singing lessons ;-)

 
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