and you can't catch me!
Ben: Mom, is the Ginger-Man crying?
Mom: No, Ben. Why would be be crying?
Ben: Because I ate all his buttons off.
I've told the story to the boys several times, but I was pretty sure the basic concept of a gingerbread man was out of their reach. They mostly like the running part of the story because, the way I tell it, somehow the gingerbread man runs faster than Speedy Zeke and Unstoppable Ben and even Daddy on his bike.
Anyway, one day Zeke asked me if I would make a gingerbread man so that he could run and catch him. He was being very sweet at the time and I'm a sucker for his cute face so, I agreed.
Lesson #1 - Zeke remembers promises, and his concept of "later" is not well developed.
I've never made gingerbread before. Not once. The Internets hooked me up with a recipe and I learned that I was committed to quite a production. Make the dough, roll it out, cut the cookies, bake, then frost and decorate...there were so many opportunities for disaster in that line up.
Lesson # 2 - Mothers with children under 4 should not make any cookie that requires rolling and cutting.
It took 3 days. First, the boys "helped" me mix the dough (and "tasted" at least a quarter cup of the brown sugar right out of the bowl). They also helped turn the mixer on and off. We think good cookie dough needs to be mixed with a stand mixer in short bursts - on for 10 seconds, then off. On for 10 more seconds, then off. Repeat many times and give each boy an equal number of turns.
The next day we rolled out the dough and cut the cookies. It took me 30 minutes to set up the kitchen for the event. It took Mike 30 minutes to clean up the kitchen after the event. I'd prefer not to talk about what happened in between.
Lesson # 3 - To a two year old, there is nothing obvious, or simple, about using a cookie cutter.
Lesson # 4 - A four year old will place a cookie cutter in the middle of the dough, every time.
The third day was decorating day. Again, I invested serious prep time only to be rewarded with an activity that lasted about two minutes and resulted in highly sugared children. The best part? Zeke used licorice to tie down his gingerbread men so they wouldn't get away.
Lesson # 5 - Never, ever, give a bag filled with icing to a two-year-old. No matter how small you think the hole is.
(The buttons are a little crooked.)