“Momma, I know that you say that you are not a good artist, but I have seen what you have made, and I think that you are pretty good at art.” This is from my almost-8yo who indeed is an amazing artist. I don’t know if he realizes how sweet those words were to my ears after I spent hours preparing for Medium Banana’s birthday party last Saturday.
We had a Pokemon theme, of course. Anyone who knows MB well can quickly give an assessment of his love for all things Pokemon. He can tell you the name, type, moves, and weaknesses of any of the 1,000,000,000 Pokemon characters. He may even be able to sing you the Poke-rap or tell you the creatures’ land of origin. That we had this theme for his party was only logical.
I spent hours scanning Pinterest for party ideas, because what party-planning mom doesn’t pilfer through Pinterest these days? Those who are naturally artistic or who just want to maintain their sanity, that’s who. Clearly neither of those applies to me. Ha! I just needed a few ideas to
steal spur on the creativity juices.
Many thanks are given to a mom I do not know over at Making Memories With Your Kid. Her posts gave me great starting places for what I knew would be fun for Medium Banana’s birthday.
Before I show you the cake, I have to confess that when it came time to apply the decorating technique I’d spent at least an hour studying and prepping while dealing with an internal heap of self-doubt and fear. After all, my son loves Pokemon so much, and I didn’t want his birthday cake to be a disaster. Not only that, but there was a small part of me that was genuinely worried about what the other moms would think. I’m a people pleaser, what can I say? It’s both advantageous and also a great fault of mine.
For the cake ideas, I must give many props and kudos to finding the fabulous Jen from Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cardio, who has an excellent site and YouTube channel. I was astounded that she’d made a video tutorial on how to make a frozen buttercream transfer of…you guessed it…PIKACHU! As I stood there at the counter mentally preparing myself for piping the first round of icing onto the wax paper, I was shaking from fear that I would screw this up. I kept whispering a prayer, Jesus, please let this look good. Please let this look good, Jesus.
That’s when I suddenly remembered something new I’d read the previous day in The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor: When getting ready to do something new, different, or very challenging, subjects in various studies who had a negative experience prior to beginning would enter into completing their task with a negative perspective and almost always have an undesirable result. However, those subjects who entered into the task after being “primed” with a positive experience that elicited feelings of happiness would most always have success with their designated task. What’s the use in reading a book for the purpose of growing if you never apply the tactics, right? I decided to shift my thinking.
There I stood alone at the kitchen counter, icing tools in hand, thinking about Medium Banana and what I knew with all my heart to be the response he would give when he would see the Pikachu cake I was decorating: absolute giddiness and excitement. I knew he would be thrilled to have a cake with one of his favorite Pokemon on it, that he would ball up his fists and shake with absolute joy (maybe he’s part chihuahua?). Imagining his response gave me joy and excitement of my own, and I had the momentum I needed to go. I was still shaking and praying that the Pikachu would look good, but I no longer was filled with panic and fear that I’d screw up my son’s cake. I’m so thankful for that moment, and I’m thankful that my guess was right–Medium Banana was overflowing with joy when he saw what I’d made for him.
An added benefit was hearing emphatic “good job’s” from other parents and even a “Did you make that? Shut up! That’s awesome!” A good ol’ pat on the back always does a mama good. All that to say, I’m thankful for Pinterest, for frugal mamas who want to decorate without breaking the bank, for YouTube how-to videos that guide visual learners like myself, for lessons learned from an excellent book, for prayers, and for the excitement of my son.
He loved his cake, so the party was a success.