Saturday, 26 November 2011
Let them eat cake!
When you teach your children manners, you never have an inkling that it might backfire on you at some stage. What parent doesn't want little angels who always greet adults with respect, say please and thank-you for everything (even things they don't like), and who know how to conduct themselves at the table? And yet...
We were at the party of a child who has been friends with ours since before she was born - literally. Her mom used to come over and see the boys when the little girl was still in the womb, and they would always pat the preggy tummy and ask why it was fat. Anyway, the baby is turning two in a few days time (how on earth did that happen - she was only born, like, yesterday or something?), and my tribe were invited to the party. It was a really lovely party, mostly for the adults, I must say (but then what party for a two-year-old is actually for the kid?), and was very elegantly catered. People stood around in clusters with fancy snacks like strawberry coulis filo pastries and pesto and brie croissants (I can only ever rustle up a quiche and even then you'd be lucky) while the little ones ran off outside to play.
My lot decided that they could not wait to go to the loo, and so we made our trek to the toilet. Getting three kids on and off the loo before someone has an accident is no mean feat. And then of course each one has to flush the toilet after each go, and there are four pairs of hands to wash (counting mine too, hopefully). The whole process can take upwards of fifteen minutes. Anyway, when we got back to the venue, it turned out the we had missed the whole "Happy Birthday" cake cutting tradition, and walked into the room in that awkward silence that always seems to follow a public karaoke rendition of Happy Birthday to You sung off-key. All the kids were stuck into the cake, their faces and hands covered with the sticky icing. My lot were offered a plate of delicious pink and green birthday cake each.
And that is when their hard-won manners let me down. In a piercing, disdainful voice, the one exclaimed "I can't eat that!" There was a collective intake of breath as all the adults in the room fell silent and listened intently to what was going to happen next.
"Why not, love?" I asked nervously.
"I can't eat cake without a cake fork," he explained in horror.