12.11.2007

Our little gingerbread house

Alex announced he wanted to make a “gingerbread man house." I remembered last year’s attempt at this and breathed a heavy sigh. Do we really have to go that route again?

I can hear the lyrics to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in my head and remember the second line: “Let your heart be light.” I’m not sure what 'light' that means. But either way, I knew it meant, give it up and let the kid make the gingerbread man house.

So we walk into Michaels and Alex sprints right to the giant stack of gingerbread house kits, takes it and skips to the register. I guess he was done. On the way home, I decided to try to streamline this process a bit after last year's gingerbread house fiasco.

Here was how it went last year: We’re going to make a gingerbread house, I say to the kid. They are ecstatic and can hardly sit still. I open the box. Crap! It’s in pieces, I need to mix the icing, the candy is in individual bags and everyone is going crazy. Why didn’t I open this ahead of time and plan. I start mixing the icing and before I know it the kids have pried open all the bags of candy—one bag which had teeny tiny pieces too small for my then 16-month old. Yikes. The icing starts to harden immediately and I’m trying to get the house together quick enough before the kids lose interest. Pretty quickly, I realize it's just not going to work out. We finish it, the kids are over the gingerbread house and I'm just frustrated by the whole thing.

This year, I was prepared. I told them it would be a 2-phase process. We would build one day and decorate the next. So, I skipped the icing on Part 1 and went straight to the glue gun. I don't know why I hadn't thought of this before. We glued it and it dried within 10 minutes. I could have gone on, but I decided the anticipation for decorating tomorrow would lend itself to another activity. While the house "dried" we decided to sketch out what our house would look like. No, my kids didn't really, but they did draw some houses with their version of gingerbread men.

Phase 2 of project gingerbread house went as expected. They ate more candy than they put on the house. I did, however, manage to get the icing done before they lost interest and cover all the glue. Overall, a much more positive experience for all this year. The house still looks pretty sad, but the memory will be a happier one.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

Oh my! I haven't tried that with mine. They do get to build one in kindergarten, so I helped Mateo at school this year. Yes, it looked very sad & he ate more candy than he used, but so did all the other kids! I have 2 exactly 15 months apart -- but total I have 5. Ages 16, 8, 6, 35 months & 20 months.