Sunday, August 15, 2010

To Bake A Cake

When I asked my son, Jeremy, what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he didn't hesitate. "Herbie!" he said as he smiled big. I smiled back...and swallowed hard. For each of the kids birthdays I make their cake. I design it after whatever they are completely and totally in love with at the time. It's a tradition I've created. Jeremy's been obsessed with Herbie (the Love Bug) for over a year and I'm crossing my fingers that the phase ends....soon!

As his birthday approached, I asked him one final time what he wanted. Nothing had changed. I knew this cake was going to take some time and thought. I bought the ingredients and decorations. I did on-line research at my favorite cake website....and yes, it had examples of Herbie cakes, much to my surprise and relief!

When cake-baking day arrived, I was scared. I didn't want to disappoint him. I've often done cupcake-cakes, but knew that wouldn't cut it this time around. It had to be a three-dimensional Volkswagen. That meant multiple cakes, cutting, shaping and strategic icing.

As I began, I thought of Dylan's IEP. In many ways, it's like baking a cake. It takes time and preparation. Lists are made to ensure all ingredients are bought and then a recipe must be followed. I baked and thought of Dylan's IEP and a grin crossed my face. He just started 3rd grade and is off to a great start, but this great start has taken a lot of prep. Then I thought back to his 2nd grade year and I'm sure my brow furrowed a bit. It had been a rough year. We had attempted to get his "cake" just right, but the recipe was off. It was no one's fault. Things just hadn't mixed quite right. There was too much of that, too little of this and the timing was off....creating a half-baked cake at the years end. We had to make a decision. Would we learn from the mistakes that had been made or repeat them? Re-baking isn't fun. It takes time and energy, but sometimes you have to do it in order for something to turn out right.

If I were to describe how it is too raise Dylan, I would say that it is much like baking a cake. You keep trying different recipes until you find one you like. The funny thing is that this year we like chocolate with white frosting but next year it might be white cake with strawberry frosting. We have to be willing to try new "flavors", add extra "filling" now and then and take away a few decorations on occasion in order to see Dylan grow and thrive. This applies to ALL areas (not just his IEP): discipline, entertainment, what he eats - you name it!

There are times when this whole cake baking thing is just down right miserable. Slaving over a stove non-stop isn't a pleasant feeling and washing all of the bake ware is tedious, not to mention the non-stop trips to the store to try something new, in hopes that the correct ingredient will finally be found. Fortunately, I'm just a cook in the kitchen who is overseen by the greatest chef I will ever know. Yes, I have to figure out which ingredients to combine, but if I'm going to His great cookbook daily, He will lead me and guide. He helps me think outside the box. He shows me ingredients I may not have considered before. And in the end, He sees the entire menu. It will taste amazing and the temperature will be perfect!

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