It was Teddy’s birthday and he was busy building a fort. The leather belt around his small waist was stuffed with plastic hammer, saw and drill, and he was barking orders at his little brother Kevin.
“No no, Kevin! Put that board over here!”
“Me sirsty,” said Kevin. Both boys headed for the kitchen.
Mama was busy with bowls and tins and measuring cups at the kitchen table.
“Whatcha doin’, Mama?” Teddy asked eagerly. But Mama wouldn’t tell.
“It’s a surprise!” she said. “If I tell you, it’ll spoil the surprise.”
Teddy and Kevin watched as she unwrapped a block of butter and cut slices of it and lay them all around the sides of the mixing bowl.
“The butter is cold from being in the fridge,” she explained. “This way it will soften more quickly and I’ll be able to cream it with the honey.”
They watched as she poured the golden honey into a measuring cup and set it beside the bowl with the butter in it. Next she broke three eggs into a small bowl and set that beside the butter and sugar.
Kevin touched the egg yolk with his fingertip. “Soft!” he said.
“Slimy!” said Teddy as he too touched it.
“Naughty!” said Mama, and the boys stepped back.
In another bowl Mama poured several cups of flour, then added salt and a few spoonfuls of something else white and powdery. She stirred this together so it was all white and smooth. Then she reached high in the cupboard and took a yellow tin down from the top shelf, and a cup of dark brown powder to the bowl with the flour in it.
“Mama!” cried Teddy. “You made it all dirty!”
“Oh no, Teddy,” laughed Mama. “Don’t you know what this is? Come closer and sniff, and tell me if you can tell what it is.”
Teddy leaned over the bowl and took a big sniff—then had to turn away quickly as all that fine powder made him sneeze!
“It smells like chocolate!” he said after he had sneezed seven times.
“That’s right, Teddy. It’s cocoa. Chocolate is made from cocoa.
“I love chocolate, Mama!” Teddy’s eyes danced and sparkled with pleasure. “Are you making me a chocolate cake?”
“I sure am! You guessed right, Teddy! I am making a chocolate cake for my little birthday boy.” And Mama took him in her arms and gave him a big hug.
Teddy squirmed free and stated firmly, “I am not your little birthday boy. I’m six years old now. I’m your BIG birthday boy!” He pulled himself up to full height and held up six fingers.
“Well well!” said Mama as she took a step back and eyed him critically. “So you are! And when did you get to be so big, I would like to know?”
“When I was sleeping!” said Teddy proudly.
Mama poured the rich brown batter into three round cake pans and then gave each of the boys a spoon to lick.
“Yummy!” said Kevin.
“Dee-wish-iss!” said Teddy.
And when it came time for the birthday cake, all eyes were filled with admiration as they beheld Mama’s wonderful creation—a three layer chocolate cake with swirls of chocolate icing, decorated with coconut and sprinkles and six flaming candles. But no one showed as much admiration as Teddy, the BIG little birthday boy.
© Willena Flewelling