The big-day preparation

Alex is turning a year old soon, and we’ve decided to take him to the River Safari to visit the pandas on his birthday. My mother-in-law, whose birthday falls on end May, wants to have a celebration of her 70th birthday with Buddy. We’re getting a chocolate cake for the joint birthdays, since she likes chocolate. Too bad for Buddy but he can’t have a taste of it. My husband and I want to delay feeding him sugar as long as possible.

A digression here, I was quite shocked to find some custard or dessert purée from brands like Heinz and Gerber contains sugar and this is for baby aged 6 months and above. I think it’s unethical of these companies to add sugar into the ingredients since it is addictive. We have also seen parents giving ice cream to their babies, and again we think it’s unconscionable. A baby has sensitive taste buds, and getting exposed to sugar is like having crack for the first time.

Anyway my husband told me to look for a chocolate cake with pretty design that can fit in a birthday message for two. Sounds a little like a tall order to me. I’m also tasked to look for a nice birthday wear for Buddy, preferably panda themed. Again a tall order. I did search online for panda suits but it’s been pretty difficult to find one. So I tried looking for a nice outfit at a couple of baby stores, maybe something preppy.

I checked out a couple of baby boutiques like Ginger Snap at Raffles City mall, and suspect that the designers don’t have baby boys of their own. Otherwise why would the pants for one-year olds have belt, button and zip? Don’t they realize that it’s necessary to make the clothes convenient to put on and remove for quick diaper change? Truddy and Teddy offers preppy clothes for baby boys, and the pants are designed with buttons at the crotch area for easy diaper change.

We went to Takashimaya where there are more selections available. My husband likes a red polo shirt from Ralph Lauren baby that was in the sale bin, though I don’t like the short pants that go with it. But the set costs S$150! For clothes that last only 6 months, despite the 30% discount, that’s still a ridiculous price to pay. Anyway we didn’t get the preppy set from Truddy and Teddy as my husband feels it’s too formal, and Buddy probably won’t get another chance to wear it after his celebration. We’ll have to get something for him by this weekend.

As for the cake, we looked at the selections available at Flor Patisserie, and decided on a Cacao Royale cake which has fresh fruits on top of dark chocolate icing. It’s a pretty cake which we think my mother-in-law would like. When we were asked for the message, to be piped onto an edible birthday card placed on the cake, I said, “Happy Birthday, Alex and Grandma!” But my husband objected. He wants something special that links Buddy to his mom and not any run-of-the mill message. We spent like 10 minutes deliberating and he wasn’t satisfied. In the end I told the staff we would revert in a couple of days’ time. Instead we went to the foodcourt for a drink and my husband continued to figure out the message he wants. After 5 minutes, he suddenly said he’s got something cool.

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When I saw the message, my first reaction was “huh? What does it mean?” My husband was incredulous, “don’t you understand the numbers?” I told him, “I’m bad in Maths. I don’t understand those symbols.” “These are plain numbers, nothing complicated.” “No, the message is too complex for me.” He then explained, “it’s just playing with numbers. Alex is 70 to the power of 0 years old, which is one. Grandma is the summation of 1 over 70 times years old, which 70.”

I had a feeling the staff at Flor would be confused. When I showed it to her, she looked puzzled, but instead of asking for clarification she told me the message was too long. My husband then had it shortened.

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But the message is still considered too long. I was shown pictures of cakes and they have the usual simple message of ‘happy birthday, so and so’. My husband pooh-pooh it, “so boring! Can we be a little creative? Don’t you think my message is cool? The Google guys will love it.” Er, the Google guys are scary smart. Most of us don’t have that kind of firepower.

Anyway we didn’t get the cake from Flor since the message cannot be piped onto the cake surface and the edible card is too small. I suggested to my husband to get the cake from Awfully Chocolate, which has plain cake and able to accommodate the message, and he agreed.

We went to the AC store at Katong, and my husband simplified the message further because the staff might make a mistake with the summation symbol. We ordered an 8″ cake to accommodate the message. But the explanation and the wait to confirm the order took us 30 minutes. This is almost like trying to understand rocket science. I told my husband to prepare for mistakes when he collects the cake, but he’s not perturbed, “it’s only icing. It can be wiped off and redone.”

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