I fell asleep because when you are three
you just sometimes fall asleep. Mum shed
coconut fur onto buttercream cats and
dotted white bread with tiny bright fairy poo.
I woke in a panic of unlooked-for naps
to find all my guests had arrived.
Unclipped a ribbon of tears and fright that
still visits me on unexpected late wakings.
Brought out a blotchy face that still takes
hours and hours and hours to fade calm.
Only one option in these kinds of emergencies:
Twisties. Inhale crop-dusted handfuls of
orange turds in multiples of lucky numbers.
Eight is fortuitous unless you’re the tail of a snake.
Chain-smoking junk food proved a better balm
than inevitable grazes of helicopter rides.
Powdered cheese saved on musical chairs injuries,
Lurid fingertips produced more winners than
cheating at bobs and statues. It’s always bobs.
Ignore your friends and guard the chips.
My cake loomed creamy and wise as a sphinx.
This modern self looks at edible feline art
and doubts maternal instincts. Constructing the
Women’s Weekly mother of all birthday cakes
is not high on my bucket list of parenting.
Happy baby fists press under my chin and
still-rosy joy is snapped up in the fishbowl
of old cameras. I can see my recovered eyes
but this is feeling the photograph, not the moment.
What I really remember is that terror, on waking.
Today's poem is based on suggestions from three peeps:
- @mlledelicieuse: "Chinese obsession with 8 being a lucky number - 8, 18, 28, 38 etc."
- @notcharming: "childhood birthday parties with fairy bread and 'helicopter' rides"
- @_camer0n: "bucket lists"
I fell asleep shortly before my 3rd birthday party, and when I woke up everyone had already arrived, and I burst into tears. I still do this if I wake up late/unexpectedly. Photo one is me chain-eating Twisties to recover from my fright. Photo two is me, recovered, with my awesome cat cake made by mum. (I kinda love how my parents documented both moments). I don't remember the cake, but I remember the waking in fright.
I have so far outsourced all Luka's birthday cakes to my friend Aimee - I love baking, but doing it the night before a party, and icing the damn things is just not going to happen.