Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yes, we had a birthday this month!

With a few notable exceptions over the years, I generally make and decorate my children's birthday cakes in a theme that reflects their interests. It's getting harder as they get a bit older.

J. turned 16 on September 11th this year. In the past, I have made him a dinosaur cake, a coat-of-arms cake, a cake with a gel-candy snake slithering through the grass, and a lego cake (rectangle cake with cupcakes on top, iced in bright yellow--looked just like a lego). Most of his current interests involve martial arts and weapons. I just cannot bring myself to decorate a cake with guns, so this year's cake was an attempt at a mallorn tree. It's not obvious, of course, but this was a spice cake with cream cheese frosting (his choice).

Most 16 year old boys dream of car keys and drivers' licenses, but J. has to wait for those things. In Poland, the minimum driving age is 18 years old, and a license is issued only after 50 hours of on-the-road experience through a certified driving school. The streets are always clogged with drivers-in-training, who are easily identifed because the training cars have a large "L" sign standing on the roof.

I always assumed "L" stood for "learner," and I suppose that's where the sign came from (it's ubiquitous in Europe), but I realized one time that "L" does not stand for the Polish word "learner." I asked someone what the "L" stood for, and the answer was, "Nothing!" It made me laugh.

In any case, J. cannot officially be a "learner" here in Poland, and I'm grateful for his patience and forbearance. He's my oldest child and my only son. I hope this year is a wonderful one for him, even without car keys.


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