Today is my precious son’s seventh birthday. Six years old has shades of still being little. Seven years old is saying goodbye to a little kid and hello to a big kid. Seven years old makes me think of driver’s licenses and shaving. I don’t know why but I’m sort of sad over my sweet little man turning one year older.
I want my son to have the most special day ever, especially since this is his first birthday without Daddy living in the same house. Some of our old traditions will continue and this year I vowed to create some new ones as well. One of these new traditions is making a special birthday breakfast treat. My coworkers suggested Monkey bread, it’s delicious and so easy, they claimed. I stayed up late last night wrapping my son’s presents and then got up early this morning to make the Monkey bread. It’s going to be a GREAT birthday, I thought.
I even invited my soon to be ex husband over to supper so our son could see his dad on his birthday. Yes, I’m a sucker for punishment, I guess. My husband is not my favorite person at the moment (being cheated on for over a year tends to sour a relationship) but I love my boy and he wanted to include Daddy.
The monkey bread was easy to prepare but then I got to the part where it said I needed a bundt pan…. Hmmm, I don’t have one of those but I do have a round cake pan. So, with a shrug, I dropped the ingredients into the pan and topped it off with the yummy looking butter and brown sugar concoction the recipe called for. I was feeling so efficient as I popped the pan in the oven just before I got in the shower. The timer was due to go off just as the kids were getting up. The house will smell delicious and the kids will be delighted, I thought as I skipped up the stairs. I was giddy with ‘this is going to be a great birthday’ fever.
When I got out of the shower, the scent of cinnamon is wafting in the air. The kids are going to LOVE monkey bread (they’ve never had it before), it’s going to become their new favorite! I woke the kids up and went downstairs and checked on the bread. It wasn’t done yet but looking at it was enough to make my stomach rumble. I can’t wait to taste that and serve it up to the kids!
I did a little bit of cleaning and then I smelled something. Not cinnamon, not brown sugar, but something burning. Uh oh. I approached the oven and saw a little bit of smoke billowing out of it. Ooops, some of the sauce was running over the cake pan. Ah, that’s why the recipe said to use a bundt pan, of course, dough rises. Good to know, I’ll remember that next time.
I popped a cookie sheet under the pan to catch the drippage. I’m feeling pretty good, I’m giving Martha Stewart a run for her money. I continue with my cleaning. Then I smell more smoke and see it furiously pouring out of the top of the oven. OMG, I hope the fire alarm doesn’t go off, our renter got home late last night and is sleeping. I opened all the windows and doors and then out of the corner of my eye, I see a bright flash of orange in the oven. What’s that?
H.O.L.Y. CRAP the oven is on fire!
I’m going to burn our Goddamn house down on my son’s birthday. I stare blankly at the orange fireball behind the glass door. Then the smoke alarms go off and chaos erupts in the house. The kids come running downstairs yelling, the dog is going crazy. My daughter asks, ‘Should we evacuate?’ (I think she was excited to use the information taught to her by the firemen that visited school last year. I almost expected her to stop, drop and roll).
I open the oven door to see WTF is going on and flames flash out towards me, the heat almost singeing my eyebrows. I turn the oven off but every time I open the oven door the flames get higher. My renter comes running downstairs and sees the fire and yells, “I have a fire extinguisher!” She races back upstairs. I envision spraying that fire extinguisher in my house and the mess it will create but then I envision my house going up in flames on my son’s birthday. I need to put this freaking fire out, preferably without mounds of foam involved. I know there’s something you can throw on a fire.. corn starch… nope, that makes it worse. Baking soda! Phew, that puts the flames out but the oven has now turned into a chimney and black smoke pours out of it.
Coughing and choking with eyes burning, I pull out the monkey bread which is still looking very doughy and I give my son a piece of it. Happy birthday, I say. He takes a bite and says, ‘It’s awful.’ Really?
Undercooked dough tasting of smoke doesn’t dance on your palate? Shocking.
I make my son his usual breakfast of French toast and as the smell of smoke hangs in the air and we shiver from the cold breeze rolling in every open window, my son states calmly, “This is the worst birthday ever.”
At the bus stop, my neighbor comments on all of our windows and doors opened in the 50 degree weather. “Yes, I made my son a special birthday breakfast, flaming monkey bread.” My son walks towards the bus and says, “Mommy, I’m going to tell everyone all about this at share time today!” “Have a great birthday”, I yell, as I think about spending the next two hours cleaning out the oven.
I might not have given my son a delicious treat for breakfast but I gave him a story that we can laugh over in ten years (probably around the time the smell of smoke dissipates from my house). Apparently my speciality is making memories, not culinary confections.