there are some parents out there whose kids have never had unnatural sugar. food coloring. dyes and high fructose corn syrup. i’m not one of them.
worse than that, i seem to be raising a sugar addict. that’s why when i brought home the supplies we’d need to create a gingerbread house, i nearly second-guessed myself, anticipating ruth downing candy like a wino on a bender. and i was right. the second i mentioned the gingerbread house, ruth started sniffing out the “supplies”, and, finding the bag from kroger, began ravaging the packages, trying with little incompetent three-year-old fingers to rip open the bags that held the goods. “hold on, ruth,” i tried to reason calmly, ” we have to build the house first.” it wasn’t actually a gingerbread house, but a grahm cracker house, if you wanna get technical. just me trying to cut corners and save a penny or two, not that i was able to, the whole mess ringing up at twice what i usually pay for a pre-made kit. go mom.
i started by building the foundation of crackers and frosting. that was all well and good until i got to the roof. “greg,” i said, “c’mere and see if you can figure out how to get a roof on this thing.” clearly, this family is short an engineer. in the meantime, ruth was busy sampling all of the decorations i had laid out. “ruth, stop eating the candy,” i said, “it’s for decorating with.” “what you’ve gotta do,” greg was explaining to ruth as he sat down and began working, “is to build a support beam in the center,” as he started breaking the crackers into littler pieces to be stacked up in the middle and somehow become a support for a roof. at this i left the room to play with joel in the living room. but i could still hear greg saying now and again, “no, ruth, no more. that’s the last one.” and i glanced up a few times to see her sucking blue frosting directly from the tube or dumping rainbow sprinkles into her mouth.
finally the roof was on, so i stepped back in to begin the fun part. decorating. i can’t say it looks like any place you’d want to live. it would never meet building codes or pass a health inspection. it’s less magical fantasy land and more the slums of candy land. think the ghetto of candy land. wrong side of the tracks, abandoned, condemned neighborhood with overgrown rainbow weeds in the front yard, boarded up smarty windows, spray painted frosting. that’s our house.
“ruth, stop eating frosting from the jar,” i said after it was finished. “i have a tummy ache,” she replied. “me too,” i said, “me too.”