“I can do this.”
That’s how it starts for stay at home dads. They get a great idea, they have a wife who believes in them and at least one child who looks up at them with big glowing eyes and gives them the feeling that they are a world beater just before they fart and giggle. The kids I mean, usually not the wife.
Well, whatever. I said I was going to do the Dadvent thing, and one item on the list was to make a gingerbread house from scratch.
…And then I got this great idea. I was reading this “Do One Cool Thing with your Kids” app called Timbuktu (because you know all the coolest people you know get their ideas from cool-help books) and they posted a gingerbread recipe and I was like… woah there. This is the one.
“An amazing recipe to bake Gingerbread cookies with kids! via @TimbuktuMag”
Now hold on to your shorts (you who are lucky enough to live near either of the tropics) because this is where it gets wonderfully elaborate.
See there is this app I once used called 123D Make. (I include the details at the end ’cause it’s free and like porn for geek dads… was that too crass? Sorry…)
Remember what I said? “I can do this.”
One 3D model design, one order of gingerbread and one wildly eclectic and adventuresome dad and we have the makings of a true sensation.
So I pulled up the recipe and I baked. And I rolled. And aside from getting the instructions backward at times, and putting it in the oven, and suddenly realizing that you can’t cut gingerbread out using a template after it’s been baked — so pulling it out of the oven… I was able to start cutting, and trimming, and shaping, and then, when it was all done I knew I would soon have the COOLEST gingerbread tree ever created and my 3 year old would look up at me and realize that he has the single greatest father ever created and there would be angels dancing on my back lawn under the cover of twinkling stars… with a lute! Yes a lute, or maybe a Lyre.
Well, that’s how I saw it going in my head.
So I ran into a problem. There was an inescapable design flaw. The template was built for cardboard I was definitely going to be working with — well probably better tasting cardboard but it swells when it bakes!
My heart sunk and my dreams were dashed. There would be no more NHL in 2012. And my gingerbread tree wasn’t going to be a stand-alone 3D-model, and my 19 month old was going to grow up a drunken reprobate… (Sorry to all you drunken reprobates who might be reading this… I mean no offence) And my beautiful wife, in all her house-coated glory, would look at me with sad eyes, and say, “Hon, — the garbage?”
On to Timelapse 2. Did I want my sons growing up knowing their dad was willing to give up? Did I want them to think it was okay to be beaten by a bread? Did I have enough courage to press on, and was there enough icing sugar in the pantry to fix this disaster?
I did it. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. It was better. Like marriage. Like my kids. Like my first prostate exam… will be… dear God I hope.
Dadvent. Tomorrow my kids will wake up, and we will break open bags of candy and together we will systematically destroy my sculpture and make it into something better. A memory… of time spent in the same room, making meaning from something utterly meaningless.
That’s a door I want them to open. That’s the conspiracy.