I BLOODY LOVE CAKES!!!
I love cake sales. Buying cakes at them anyway. What I love less is baking cakes, mostly because I’m crap at cooking all round. My husband took over the cooking full scale in our house and we’re all much better for it. Friends visit and assume I’ve trained him but no – he just couldn’t bear my cooking any longer.
Anyone who has been to a cake sale will know that some of the cakes are better than others. Some parents get creative and make amazing cakes. Other people allow their children to get involved in making the cakes and these look sh*t. These are not the cakes I want to come home with. I want the ones that the over-ambitious parents made. They are always fabulous! We therefore can’t just turn up – we have to plan.
STAGE ONE – NOMINATE THE CAKE BUYER
The school had a cake sale this week. It was at 3:30pm and thanks to our overelaborate schedule Rachel, aged 7 was due to be the only person at school during that time. She was therefore given the ENORMOUS responsibility of buying cakes at the cake sale for all the family. Her school is an infants school which means that she’s in the top year making her the tallest girl in the school. That means she’s only got to elbow boys and parents out of the way. I am confident in my choice of buyer. Time to prep her.
MUM You have to buy the cakes for us all
RACHEL I don’t think I can do it
MUM You can do this. You have to do this. If you don’t do this we won’t have cake and then we’ll die.
RACHEL Mum, we won’t die if we don’t have cake.
MUM Yes we will. Take your balls in your hand girl and buy the cakes.
RACHEL OK I’ll buy the cakes
MUM Say show me the cakes
MUM Say show me the cakes
RACHEL Show me the cakes
RACHEL SHOW ME THE CAKES!
I’m now confident she is primed for cake buying (and teenage rebellion).
STAGE TWO – SOURCE FUNDS FOR CAKE
Obviously,, we don’t want to give Rachel a note because she might spend it on booze and fags before we can get the change off her (perhaps it’s a little early to assume she’s going to turn out like her Dad!!!! OK, me!) so we scrap around for coins. We manage to get together £2.50.
Will this be enough?
We drive to school with a slightly nervous feeling in our stomachs. I’m concerned that I’m sending my soldier into Cake Sale battle with too little resource. Rachel concerned that the fact I’ve dressed her up like BA from the A-team is against school uniform regulations. To pass the time I get her to practise saying “you crazy fool” whilst her little sister throws toys at her. “Toughen her up” I shout in my new found Sergeant Major voice.
STAGE THREE – GATHER INTELLIGENCE
We park up at school and leap from the car, Rachel so pumped she starts trying to barge a lamp post out of the way. We spot a school mum. “Act normal” I shout at the kids, even though none of us has any idea how to be that.
ME Do you know how much the cakes are today at the sale?
MUM Between 50p and a pound
ME Oh no! We don’t have enough money!
MUM ARRGGHH. I have money. Have money. Don’t send your soldier into a cake sale with lack of resources. Have this fiver!
ME Thank-you. I have some coins.
MUM Just go. Get your soldiers to school. You can pay me another time but you CAN NOT miss the beginning of choir. Think of how you’ll be judged by ontime mums! GO GO GO!
We run so fast we overtake the traffic, getting to school just in time to see three other kids arriving dressed up as BA from the A-Team. Let battle commence.
STAGE FOUR – THE PICKUP
I wait all day with no news, wondering how Rachel is going to get on. Will she get good cakes or not? Will we have to stop at Asda on the way home to make up for a poor performance? Should I just do that anyway? I CAN’T BEAR THE SUSPENSE!
I arrive at the gate at 4:45pm to find Rachel in tears with her skirt tucked in her knickers. We untuck the skirt. I’m not sure that was as a result of the cake sale.
ME Why are you crying?
TEACHER She’s lost her cakes.
RACHEL And you’ll be really angry with me
ME Of course I won’t! We’ll just go and buy some more.
TEACHER I can’t leave the gate because I have to dismiss one more child. Ah screw it. Cake is more important. Let’s go and look for the cake!
She’s right of course. She closes the gate, and off we all go including the child who is supposed to be being picked up by her mother to go and look for the cakes, so important is it that we have them. A minute later
RACHEL I have found the cakes!!!!!!
Marvellous news, though I question how hard she looked for them the first time around!!!!
STAGE FIVE – EVALUATION
Turns out Rachel is quite literally the best at buying cakes. A Gruffalo cake for her little sister. A sparkly grown-up cupcake for me. A princess cake for her and a smarties cake for her dad, all for £2.50. We did have enough money after all!
I think that must mean that we all lived……
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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure. She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right. Infact 85% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.