Last night I was trying to make a gum paste cake topper for my four year old boy’s cake. It had been a difficult day and the cake topper had been broken about ten different times. Once, Austin ate one of its legs and a chunk out of its face. The resulting instability of figure caused additional damage. My teenager tried to move it and that didn’t go well. Then he tried to fix it and that went even worse.
I HAD TO MAKE THIS CAKE TOPPER WORK! Who makes a My Little Pony cake topper for her son’s birthday party? To have it turn out lame was not an option. Imperfect? Yes. Lame? No. All my older boys and Ben were like, “You are going to make him a girl cake???” I was so MAD!! I am not making him a GIRL CAKE. I am making him a cake of a character he loves who happens to be female. She is also fast and can fly and has a spunky personality and maybe he will marry someone like that someday. I LOVE the fact that he relates to female characters and admires them! Someday I hope he can take that and build a relationship or relationships with his female coworkers and spouse that is devoid of the toxic sexism that saturates our society!! This was not about a cake. It was a STATEMENT. And it was not working.
I would fix the wing and then the tail would fall off. And then I would fix the tail, and the wing would fall off again along with part of the mane. I screamed and cursed and cried and sat on the floor trying to resist the urge to pull out my hair. Then I would look at Ben and get mad again because he had suggested days ago, in a loving and concerned way, “Are you sure you want to make this cake? You don’t have to do this.” He knew I would be a mess! And I was mad at him for knowing that I would be a mess. He was right and that made me mad at him. And mad at myself. And mad at the stupid sugar pony that would not come together.
“I’m here for you Bridgette. Whatever you need,” Ben said in his calm and steady way. That made me feel guilty. He even sat on the floor with me and put his arm around me. How can he be so patient and loving to me when I’m so beastly? Wesley wanted to help me so bad. He brought me a pillow from my bed. “Here Mom. You can punch it and it will make you feel better. Or you can just lay on it…..” Everyone was walking around on eggshells trying to avoid triggering my rage. I hate it when I make people feel like that. Then I hate myself and it makes it worse.
Austin ran around the house naked with his foam sword in his hand. He had peed his pants for the second time and no one had bothered to dress him again. Peroidically he would yell about, “stupid cake!!! Stupid, dumb cake!!” He slashed his sword dramatically as he stomped around with an angry expression, clearly imitating me. He wasn’t distressed, just mirroring the frustration he could sense in me. I laughed in spite of myself. My other boys tried to get him to stop saying it and I said, “Don’t worry about it. I’m not taking it personally.” I welcomed the comic relief!
Ben found a recipe online for edible glue. He got the ingredients and mixed them up for me. It worked like a charm. I set the troublesome topper on the cake and then piped a border around the bottom. Wesley and I worked together to make rainbows and clouds to go around it. It was beautiful! It wasn’t a “girl cake” but it did have a female pony who has earned the love and respect of my tiny warrior.
And he did get a complete set of My Little Pony figurines for his birthday. He knows all of them by name. He sleeps with them next to his bed. He did get a glorious Twilight Sparkle Pony complete with glittery wings and tiara, much to the chagrin of his dad. I think Wesley kind of likes it though. I even saw Layne messing with her wings. It stands out as the first and only “girl toy” we have had in our house, so it is something of a novelty. He also got eight foam swords, two shields, and a set of bow and arrows.
Austin loved the cake. He and Wesley kept spinning it around on my cake turner to see it from every angle. Even I was happy with it and even though I see all of its flaws, I can appreciate it for what it is; a symbol of love and devotion of a mother to her little boy. A mother who respects her son’s individuality even if it goes against some of the social norms we have built around what it is to be a boy.
Austin is probably my most masculine child. He seemed to have been born with weapon of some kind in his hand. He is naturally strong and sturdy and ready to do battle with anyone and everyone. And yet, he is drawn to strong female characters like Owlette and Rainbow Dash. I don’t understand why, but I love that about him. It’s part of what makes him interesting and different. It also makes me feel fiercely protective of him. I want him to be able to think and feel the way he wants to. I don’t want to send him to school and have conformity beaten into him.
I remember one day Wesley came home from Kindergarten crying. I asked him what was wrong and he said he was coloring a picture with a pink crayon and was told by the other kids that he couldn’t use a pink crayon because it was a “girl color.” The momma bear anger flared in me. I hugged my boy and dried his tears and explained to him that there are no girl or boy colors, that every color is important and that no one is ever allowed to keep him from using a color. We teach those kinds of toxic concepts to our children and then they force them upon one another. When will we learn?
But this post isn’t supposed to be a lecture. I’m not trying to set myself up as the perfect parent who is going to judge everyone who doesn’t do as I do. Lord knows I’m not a perfect parent. I do wish that we had a society where it was more okay to be different. There are important laws and standards that must be upheld, but there are many ways we can relax and allow boys to color outside the lines with pink crayons and sparkles. There is so much beautiful variety to the people of this world! Can we let that be okay? Maybe not in school, maybe not in church, but as long as I’m the mom, we can do it at home.
****I found out today that there is a movement of men and boys who resonate with My Little Pony. The newest remake of this popular series is much less oriented to little girls. It has a wide appeal to many different people. Men and boys who have felt a strong affinity for the series call themselves “Bronies” and meet up online and at conventions. There is are a couple of documentaries about the phenomenon. For more information, check out
And I was able to watch a really good one here for free