Call us lazy. But we look at these ages as the only time we'll be free from doing all that extra stuff. At this age, the kids don't care, so we are enjoying our freedom. We know they'll eat tons of sugar and other bad food down the road, but why in the world would we give it to them when they are too little to even ask for it?
But this weekend, I caved and did one of those projects I usually avoid. The kids and I made gingerbread houses. I have friends who have done this with little kids, and I read a blog where a woman did it with a little boy my son's age. She went on and on about how much he enjoyed it, and the end result looked great. So I went to the store and bought white frosting, gum drops, Twizzlers, pretzels, red hot candies, and sprinkles. Then we settled down to make gingerbread houses the "easy" way, with graham crackers for the walls.
One friend had suggested building them over milk cartons, to keep them standing upright, but I couldn't figure out how to do this. The graham crackers didn't seem quite big enough to go over the milk cartons. In the end I just used two long crackers and two half crackers for the four walls and a long cracker for a flat ceiling. They kids were thrilled during set up. I built the structure and showed them how to decorate. (I smeared frosting over the roof so they could stick stuff on top.) They managed this part fine, except that the houses each caved in twice, triggering momentary hysteria from both kids. Then I showed them how to put a dab of frosting on the back of the candy, so it worked like glue. This was completely over the two year old's head. He put it on the "front" and couldn't understand why it didn't stick. It was ok because he didn't really care, anyway.
This project held their attention for exactly three minutes. Then the two year old started eating everything in sight and the four year old said, "I'm all done. Can I wash my hands in the sink?" In the end, both kids were vastly more interesting in washing their hands in the sink than in decorating gingerbread houses. The whole venture cost me about $10 in candy, half of which I still have and will probably never use. Set up time was about five minutes. Clean up time was another five. The kids' sugar high lasted several hours. Now we have two gingerbread homes that I guess need to be eaten. Looking forward to that second sugar high.
In the end, both kids would have been just as happy spending the morning under a blanket and chair fort in the living room. Oh, and, although I think my kids' gingerbread houses are charming, they are no where near the quality of the ones I saw the three year old build on that blog. I'm not saying the mom cheated or that my kids' decorating skills are lacking. I'm just saying...totally different looking