I Let Her Decorate Her Own Cake

Every day, all day long, we’re faced with choices.

What should I eat for breakfast? Should I have that second cup of coffee (the answer to that one is almost always YES!)? Are my legs hairy enough that other people will notice or can I get away with one more day of not shaving?

And if you’re a mom, you can just multiply those choices by a million!

Ariel cake1

Some choices are no-brainers. “Mom, may I dangle my Rapunzel doll from the landing? The prince is trying to climb her hair.”


“Mom, may I dangle from the landing?”


There are the choices we make that seem so simple in the moment but it’s only later when we realize their full magnitude.

We think that its no biggie but we realize later that it was in fact a BIG biggie!

And then, there are those times when we are faced with a choice and we know, right then and there, that it is a pivotal moment.

Like on Tuesday when my daughter and I were baking her birthday cake. Auntie Heather was in town along with my niece and nephew and a family party was planned for the following night. She wanted to have a princess cake which was perfect since I still had a castle cake mold from the princess party she had a few years ago.

We pulled the cake out of the oven, let it cool and as I was gathering all of the decorating supplies she said to me,

“Mommy, may I decorate my cake all by myself?”

This was one of those moments. The ones where you fully realize the weight of the question.

And I was torn.

After years of carefully planning and executing themed birthday parties with cakes and cupcakes labored over and decorated to perfectly match the chosen theme, it went against every fiber of my being to even consider having her decorate it all by herself.

I had a pretty good idea of how this cake would end up looking. 😉

It wasn’t going to be Pinterest worthy or wind up providing the inspiration for other themed parties for little girls around the world.

And yet, there she sat looking at me with those big brown eyes which pleaded with me to grant this wish.

This was her last day as a 6 year old. And she’s only little once.

Suddenly, this seemingly weighty question became a no-brainer question.

“Of course you can decorate your own cake sweetie!”

And she did.

She went after it with gusto and when she was done working her magic that cake was perfect.

Until she placed the plastic Ariel doll with the bikini top right in the middle of it.

Ariel on top of cake

Then, well, then it was even more perfect!

I’m pretty sure it’s the most beautiful castle-Little Mermaid-Ariel in a bikini top-cake ever.

Although her brother said he wouldn’t eat any piece that was even remotely close to Ariel because he was absolutely positive that it would have germs all over it despite our assurances that we had washed her. Brothers!

Ariel cake

You know, if I had decorated the cake for her 7th birthday, years from now we would probably not even remember it. And if we did it would just be one in a long line of carefully planned and executed creations done by her mother.

But, this cake?

Well, this cake will never be forgotten.

Not only because it was just truly awesome in it’s own right. I mean, did you see those turrets?

But, because there was a very happy girl grinning from ear to ear with pride as those candles on her cake were lit and it was paraded around the room for everyone to oooohhhh and aaaaahhhh over.

birthday girl blowing out candles

And because her mommy knew that she had made the exact right choice at that pivotal moment in time.

Even if it means running the risk of having more cakes in the future featuring dolls in bikini tops! 😉

Vanessa signature


  1. says

    You’re a good momma! And you’re right–she’ll remember not only the cake, but that you let her decorate it as well. But of course, you’ve set a precedent….she’ll want to decorate ALL her cakes now, and well, that might not be such a bad thing! OR she’ll decide to let you do it after all! Beautiful memories!

  2. Dee says

    I love this post! I have see my own daughter try to create Pinterest-perfect themed parties for my grandchildren and thought how glad I am that my own two daughters were raised before the internet and social media. You are correct! It will be the most perfect and memorable birthday for all of you.:)

  3. says

    This is lovely and as a mom, this cake is most definitely magazine worthy because your little girl decorated it!
    My favorite cake with my kids remains the one with all the Sesame Street characters smushed on top of the cake. Big Bird was lookin a little odd with frosting up to his feathers.
    Jessica Griffin recently posted..Losing My Mom Card….My Profile

  4. says

    Girls are quick to learn from their moms. Whatever I am today is because of the inspiration I drew from my mom.

    Your little one here, is carefully following her mom and I am sure she’s only gonna get better. Kids her age, can hardly keep themselves from licking the cake from every possible corner and here she is decorating one for herself. You’ve sure got a smart helper!

    Happy Birthday to her :)
    Tanya recently posted..‘Whatcha-Got’ Buffalo Chicken Lettuce WrapMy Profile

  5. says

    You hit a home run my friend! You are right in every way, and your daughter will remember it always. My kids remember the silliest things like cleaning the kitchen floor with sponges strapped to the bottom of their feet (it was really me who cleaned but they slipped and slid to their hearts content). As I kept my nieces and nephew (ages 3 to 9) today I remember the chaos of 5 kids and I missed so many parts of it! This story will be a reminder for all of us to embrace today!

  6. says

    Oh my, what a precious story Vanessa! I know exactly that tug and pull of those decisions… and the overwhelming thankfulness that you make the right one! The cake is priceless! God bless your precious birthday girl/best cake decorator in the world/Ariel lover! Hugs all ’round!

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