Sticky Hands

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true loves gave to me…..twelve gingerbread houses, eleven fairtrade beads, ten minutes walking, nine minutes sledding, eight pieces pizza, seven inches snow, six chocolatechip cookies, five hours alone, four people dressed, three frozen fruit treats, two burning snowmen and a queasy feeling in my tummy….

I’m not the type of mom to go volunteer at my kid’s school, or organize a fundraiser – you know, ‘get involved.’ It must be a combination of laziness and disinterest. And having a one year old companion who does not believe in staying in one place for more than a minute. So I often feel like a complete slacker when I see other mothers emerge from the preschool room, having spent two hours helping all the kids color, or decorate the craft du jour. (Note to preschools everywhere….less glitter and less gluing objects on other objects; more painting and drawing. And perhaps leave the painted projects at school until next time because they’re never dry when we take them home. I’ve got paint on my dashboard, pants, and back seat to prove it.)

So I decided to be a better citizen and volunteered to assemble the gingerbread houses which the kids will decorate next week. Really, they are graham cracker houses, but that doesn’t sound seasonally appropriate.

I arrived at the school and joined the other volunteer mom. She was mixing the ‘icing’ when I got there, while talking on her cell phone. Suddenly the mixer started spinning out of control and she had to pull the plug out of the wall. Globs of thick white stuff all over the countertop. A near disaster.

We spent the better part of thirty minutes trying to get the icing to the right consistency. We’d started with something the consistency of loose playdough, decided it was too stiff and started diluting it until we ended up with white water. And then worked our way back, adding powdered sugar bit by bit, to exactly where we started: icing the consistency of playdough. Talk about a waste of time.

If there’s a way to put six squares of graham crackers together without (1) thick globs of icing oozing out all over the cookie surfaces; (2) getting icing all over one’s hands; (3) producing houses that look like they were made by three year olds, then I’m not aware of it.

Uniformity is next to impossible.

Each roof had a vastly different slope, some walls caved in while others bowed out and icing appeared in places it should not. Part of me was a little embarassed to hand the houses over to the preschool teacher. And part of me thought who cares.

They’ll look even worse when the little people are done with them.

11 thoughts on “Sticky Hands

  1. Build them around the little school sized milk cartons… that’s what I’ve seen people do. But they’re going to love them!!! That’s an ambitious first volunteering gig! Way to go! All I did was cut out blue circles and glue them on to a paper.

  2. Oh I remember the milk carton version – we did them at MOPS one year. Maybe that idea hasn’t yet made its way to Canada!?

  3. Remind me why we never hung out? We are SO much alike! I never volunteer at my kids school…just today I sent my hubby on a field trip with my daughter to make gingerbread cookies at Conner Prairie. We totally could have been the moms going out for coffee while the other moms helped out and we could have made fun of how “perfect” they were with their clean vans and polished nails…oooh I sound mean…I better go to bed.

  4. Funny thing is, I just spent two hours cleaning out my surburban and Joe just gave me a gift card to get a manicure tomorrow! Totally not something my role model Roseanne would do (wink wink)

  5. The architect was in charge of nap-time. There’s no doubt he’d have come up with a better way to make the houses, but I’d already pawned off a previous volunteer opportunity on him, I couldn’t…again.

  6. The architect’s solution is pay the $5 and buy them at the store. Or if feeling particularly inspired, just stack all the cookies in layers with icing in between and go for the flat roof meisian box… Done and Done.

  7. Yeah, I don’t think Miss Darlene would have gone for a flat roof….but I’m not opposed, should we try this experiment at home.

  8. I feel the same way about volunteering at my kids school! One time, I was sitting around a table with a bunch of other moms. They spent 30 minutes discussing whose turn it was to use the school grill at the end of the year. They stated their case as to why their kids class needed the grill more than others. It was funny… I just sat back and laughed. I try to avoid it as much as I can.

  9. I know, volunteering sounds so nice in principle….but I don’t even seem able to take a shower on a daily basis. So maybe I should just stick to the ‘basics’ for now.


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