The day I turned two, my sister convinced me that it was tradition to lick the icing off one’s second birthday cake. Inasmuch as a four year old can convey the idea of tradition, she effectively persuaded me that what she had done at her second birthday party was exactly what I should do at my second birthday party. Personally, I think she just wanted an excuse to “help” me scrape the icing off half of the sheet cake before our mom noticed what we were doing.
Unlike her second birthday party, which had been held at a Chuck E. Cheese, mine was a much smaller affair. At the time, we lived in a guesthouse in Accra, Ghana. The four of us lived in a small suite with a bunch of trunks stacked high in the corner. Eventually, we moved to a larger home in a village in the Volta Region, but my first memories were from that guesthouse.
I wish I could remember more about this memory, but I really just have a few faint impressions of it. I remember my sister had a messy blond ponytail, and my brown hair likely looked the same. We were either wearing sundresses or were still in our nightgowns, and we were sitting on stiff chairs at the small Formica-topped table. There was a window in front of us with privacy glass louvers that looked out on the gravel parking lot. I believe this was before we got our poodle, but I could be wrong. What I really remember well is my sister’s oldest sibling explanation and then her cheeky smile when we got caught.