Three years last Friday the Littlest Latte was born. She was due on Christmas Eve, but managed to hang on to make sure that her birthday just cleared the Christmas madness. It meant a miserable, heavy, heartburny Christmas for her old mum, who spent much of her holiday wandering round furniture shops so we could get out of the house but still sit down, but by god, she knew what she was doing.
Two years ago my mother offered to make her a birthday cake. I've never been much of a baker, and also I had a cold (seems I spend my whole life ill with something or other).
Even in your late 30s there is a wonderful girlish relief to handing something over to your mum. Like a child in a picture book, I imagined my beloved daughter's second birthday cake arriving from my mother's fragrant kitchen, fluffy and iced like a fairytale, melt-in-the-mouth and tasting of all things special and magical and birthday.
It was flat.
It was hard.
It was spread inside with something which may have been jam.
In my daydreaming I had completely forgotten that my mother can't cook at all.
So this year I was ready. I had researched recipes and, most importantly, I had lowered my standards. Even I could bake a flat, hard cake for my own daughter.
The Lattes and I made the cake, and then I made butter icing and the Littlest Latte shoved dolly mixtures and smarties and jelly diamonds so far into the icing that they disappeared. We stuck three candles on it and she blew them out.
It tasted lovely.
And this is how evolution works.