Pictured below are seven cakes that my dear friend, Mer, baked when she went on an inexplicable cake-baking binge on a Monday night after work last February.
Coincidentally, around this same time that Mer was channeling her inner Betty Crocker, she also conceived her daughter, Sophie. I now know that when a woman’s fertility is at its peak, and her husband is intoxicated on his favorite perfume, Fragrant Cake Aroma, this is a recipe where not only seven cakes can come flying out of the oven, but a healthy baby girl can follow nine months later.
Even though I am an avowed non-breeder, I am actually rather fond of the children produced by my friends, and of course, Sweet Pea, the heir my sister was considerate enough to spawn. Yet, last week, my patience was sorely tested when seven-year-old bored-out-of-his-mind Little Lance visited my office. As his temporary sitter met with my boss, Elsbeth, to talk tile, Little Lance made a bee-line for the scissors on my desk and proceeded to cut up a tissue before attempting to tackle a horse hair dust brush. With visions of this child slicing off his own thumb, I calmly asked him to put the scissors back 687 times. Eventually he got the message – after eying a far more enticing silver knife that Elsbeth had lying atop a stool. That knife could have been sitting on that stool for three seconds or thirty years, but I never noticed it until that moment. Screaming inside my head I thought:
Me: Jesus Christ, Elsbeth, why the hell do you have a knife on a stool?
Naturally, that knife brought out the Road Runner in Little Lance as he rocketed over to the shiny weapon of child destruction. I knew if I attempted to hurdle my Acme brand desk to reach that knife pre-Lance, I’d probably morph into Wile E. Coyote, catch my foot on a corner, only half-dive over the desk, and painfully smash my face into its back wall breaking my nose and glasses. This would surely elicit peals of laughter from Little Lance who might then grab the knife and stab me like a piñata for more fun.
Before anyone needed to call an ambulance for me, Little Lance’s sitter finished his meeting with Elsbeth and grabbed the knife out of the boy’s hand. The sitter, who at the moment brought to mind Joan Crawford, announced, “This is exactly why I never want to have kids.” As they left, Greg, my sidekick, entered.
Greg: Our office isn’t a very safe environment for kids.
Me: Thank you for noticing, Dr. Spock.
To younger readers, this is not a reference to a certain pointy-earred Vulcan, but to Dr. Benjamin Spock, the pediatrician that wrote The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care. This tome has sold more than 50 million copies since it was published in 1946.
Some may remember Sophie’s entry into the world this past Tuesday as the day that Apple began selling the Beatles catalogue on iTunes, or Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton, or if you’re New York Congressman Charlie Rangel, the day your colleagues deemed you guilty as sin of eleven ethics violations. Sophie’s big sister, Kennedy, will probably remember it best as a cause for celebrating the debut of her buddy and rival. The games can really begin in Mer’s house. Dr. Spock might urge Mer to lock up all sharp objects now.