For my daughter’s first birthday I made her a monkey cake, after her favourite toy. The following year, for her new obsession, it was a train (though such are my cake-decorating skills that she took one look at it and said “Wow, Mummy, a tractor!”). For her third I will probably have to bite the bullet and make a Peppa Pig… But what do you make for the boy who doesn’t have favourites, or at least can’t tell us what they are, for the birthday we never thought he’d reach? He will be one in ten days’ time.

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We do know he likes milk, but I’m not sure a boob-shaped cake would be entirely acceptable (not least because my parents-in-law will be at the party). He likes cuddles and having his feet rubbed, but I’m not sure how to translate those into a cake either.

He also seems to like lights and shiny things (at least, he turns to them), jingly noises (he will occasionally even smile at them) and bubbles (he usually falls asleep by the bubble column at our sensory session, which I think means he is relaxed rather than bored by it). So I guess it will have to be an all-singing all-dancing light-up, jingling, bubbling cake… More realistically, a plain sponge festooned with sparklers, bells and bubbles, and hidden under a space blanket! At least I’ve got a cake tin in the shape of his initial.

Then there’s presents. The problem is that anything he needs I’ve already rushed out and bought (or scrounged) instantly, not wanting to lose a second if something might help his development. We’ve a house full of fairy lights, crinkly fabric, bubble wrap, makeup brushes, flashy-spiky-bouncy-balls, jingly bells, jingly balls, jingly cuddly animals, … As a typical second child, he also has piles of dog-eared books, mouldy bath toys, slightly stained vests and sleepsuits. We are getting him on some new medication this week, I wonder if that could count?

In the end, I guess, like most one-year-olds, he won’t really grasp that it’s his birthday at all but will just enjoy the attention and all the cuddles. He might even play with the wrapping paper. We’ll blow up some balloons, light a candle, and drink a glass of bubbly in his honour. And if he’s happy with that, then so am I.

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