Birthday Bakers

Going to birthday parties has always been great fun for kids.  When I was young I’d wear a pretty party dress and my mother would take me to the birthday kid’s house,  with me proudly carrying the wrapped gift.  Then we’d put on paper hats,  play games,  and eat cake and ice cream while the celebrant’s father took home movies as we shyly waved at the camera.

A generation later things were quite different.  The birthday parties I took my son to were usually themed and held in restaurants,  gyms,  or museums,  with entertainment supplied by hired clowns or magicians.  Pizza or 6-foot heroes were usually on the menu, and the kids were completely unfazed by the professional videographer recording the event for posterity.

But for my son’s birthdays I always tried  to come up with party ideas that had special meaning for him,  and one year I capitalized on his early love for cooking and baking.

He was 7 or 8 when I hired the Birthday Bakers,  two lovely young women who arrived at our apartment bringing everything that was needed for a dozen little kids to bake and decorate a cake,  even little chef aprons for them to wear and keep.

All that I was asked to do was preheat the oven while the Birthday Bakers spread everything our on our dining room table,  and helped the kids break eggs,  measure flour and the other dry ingredients,  mix the batter,  and make the icing.

Then while the cake was in the oven,  the kids sat in a circle on our living room floor and our two  Birthday Bakers read them Maurice Sendak’s wonderful book In the Night Kitchen.

And that year everyone agreed our birthday party really took the cake!

– Dana Susan Lehrman


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