This holiday season is going to be as fun as it will be stressful. We have decided to stay in New York do avoid the craziness of running around for a few days in Rome trying to visit as many relatives as possible. Actually, it is more about chauffeuring our son around to be coddled and spoiled while we sit in the corner and wait to bring him to the next relative’s home, but that is just a detail. So we are going to set up shop at home and it will be the first time he can appreciate it. In our house that means an advent calendar, a tree (the debate rages about fake or real) and thanks to my son’s current obsession Frosty the Snowman and the Gingerbread Man in some shape or form. This also means that there will be an overly excited little boy running around the house each time one of these objects appears and there will be a great deal or ripping, tipping, spilling and all the other standard fare just multiplied and magnified by the novelty of it all.
Nonetheless, who can help themselves when their kid’s eyes go wide with surprise and twinkle with delight to see new and curious objects? So I was actually excited when I spoke to BJ’s Wholesale Club recently as they put together their holiday gift guide, because one holiday classic was in there and I could already see my son sitting at the table with me and my wife building it together. I actually ran downstairs when their package was dropped of at my building and I peaked inside on the way up in the elevator to make sure that it was indeed what I expected. Imagine the corniest of holiday movies where the sun glints off the top of a desired object and the protagonist gets a goofy smile and the credits roll with chirping in the background. So all of that minus the sun and the credits rolling since I was in an elevator. My Gingerbread House had arrived. You’re right, how egocentric of me: My son’s Gingerbread House had arrived.
I don’t think I have had one since I was a kid. I carefully laid every piece out on the table with my son excitedly pointing at each piece and naming them or inventing names for them depending on whether or not he had seen or eaten it before. I started to explain to my son how the pieces when put together would look like the box they came in. I did not tell him the part where I really was just hoping it would not fall apart or look like, well, a toddler made it. He looked rather skeptical and I can’t blame him, but after a few seconds he just pointed at the gumdrops and asked: “Candy?”
Indeed that is candy I answered and there went those great big wide eyes.
“Candy! Daddy more candy please?!” (it’s always more even when he hasn’t had any yet).
Because I felt this project near and dear to me I tried to reason with my 2.5 year old son, which is really quite silly of me. I told him how daddy had built them when he was a little boy and how it would be all neat looking with icing and candy canes and he could show his friends and…
“No Daddy! I want candy!!! Candy Daddy… pleeeeeassse!”
Right, so as I was saying these pieces have to be stuck together so we can build this house.
“No Daddy! Candy! Mommy, mommy… candy pleassse?!”
As the situation degenerated my son started to horde the gumdrops and candy canes. I was able to save Mrs. Gingerbread from a deadly tug of war unscathed and with her fixed smile still intact.
I finally gave him a gumdrop to appease the beast and he contentedly sucked on it and pointed at his mouth curled up in a victorious grin.
“Candy Daddy! I have candy!”
I knew I did not have much time so I pumped the icing furiously to build the sides and the roof. Icing flew everywhere as I worked like a mad sculptor in the throws of a creative epiphany. I worked the gumdrops into the roof and the little colored sugar beads onto the window frames and the door. I filled out the Gingerbreads and stuck on the candy canes. My son started to get excited too and pointed at the house and all the gleaming candy until he realized that it was no longer within his reach. By then it was too late. The masterpiece was finished and I dropped back into my seat exhausted and spent after having unleashed my inner child and novice architect. I did not hear my son’s pleading for more candy, all I saw was my glorious creation. I was a child again and even my wife who walked in on the scene said so as she shook her finger at me and picked up my son who was in full tantrum mode because of the gumdrop sugar rush and consequent negation of another dose by his father. A true holiday moment thanks to yours truly.