Alex's third birthday was a day of celebration, gifts, guests, and denial.
Yes, denial. Alexander faced the first age-related crisis of his young life.
Apparently, he had enjoyed being two years old, and did not want to admit that he had
reached the lofty age of three. He was more than happy to celebrate his birthday,
but he steadfastly refused to acknowledge that his chronological age had increased.
Be that as it may, October 18, 1999 was a festive day in Alex's household. His party was attended by his two parents, and two of his grandparents, and
Alex always has a good time when Julia is present. Julia squeals and screeches in delight at Alex's antics, and Alex, in return, enjoys the attention he receives from his young cousin. One of the certainties of life is that when Alex and Julia are together, there will be a fair amount of noise.
For the main meal, Alex's father roasted a leg of lamb, and Alex's mother used the drippings to make "perfect gravy" for the mashed potatoes. (They knew the gravy would be perfect because the recipe said it would be perfect, and the recipe came from the Internet. And, as always, if you read it on the Internet, you know it's true!) And for dessert, of course, there was a birthday cake.
Alex had requested a "horsie cake", with a picture of Flounder (from Disney's Little Mermaid) on it. Alex's parents scratched their heads for a while, wondering how to fulfill this rather offbeat request. Finally, inspiration came in the form of photo cakes! You've probably seen them at your local supermarket or bakery. You simply bring in a photograph, and, through the magic of modern technology, it's somehow transformed into a cake. Alex's father created a composite image on the family computer, brought it to the local grocer, and presto! One "horsie cake" for Alex! His third birthday would be a happy one after all.
|Alex's "horsie cake"|
|This photo continues an annual tradition: A birthday boy, his parents, a cake, and odd cone-shaped hats. On his second birthday, Alex refused to eat a single crumb from his birthday cake. This year, though, would prove to be a different story, as evidenced by the photos below.|
|Above left, Alex's mother guides his hand as he ceremonially cuts his cake. Alex then samples the cake (center) and it seems to meet with his approval, as he leans into the cake with gusto (top right). Julia (bottom right) opted to enjoy a plastic ear of corn in lieu of cake.|