Saturday, December 22, 2007

When the dads get involved

Last week was another Adventure Princess Circle gathering, where my 7-year-old and I got together with other members of our tribe at one of the couple's houses. Typically, a circle gathering goes like this:

1. Arrive at house
2. Girls run around house determining who has the greatest vocal capacity
3. Girls play foozeball, dads enjoy a beverage
4. Dads and daughters gather in a circle to take care of a few business items, like what to do with the four dollars collected for charity or determining which girl helped their mom do the dishes this week.
5. Girls are herded to table, to enjoy sugary and/or salty snack
6. Girls do a craft of some sort
7. After achieving final sugar high, girls are driven home so the moms can deal with peeling the girls off ceilings and getting them to bed.

Our recent meeting went pretty much as planned. But an added bonus was that during craft time, all the dads immediately found the rare opportunity to become architects.

The craft was to create a gingerbread house. Prefabricated the night before by the host family out of graham crackers and a complex mixture of egg whites, polymers, and magic fairy dust, the kids' job was to decorate the house in the classic gingerbread fashion. Each child was given a full container of frosting, and an endless supply of decorative items. There were M&Ms, Snow Caps, pretzel rods, pretzel circles, pretzel squares, gumdrops, marshmallows, cookies, Twizzlers, and more. At first the kids were free to create and play, but once that first dad realized his daughter wasn't achieving a completely smooth and adhesive surface by creating an even layer of frosting on all surfaces, it was time to step in. Suddenly, a deck appeared on the back of one house. Then came a pond made of blue M&Ms. There were patios. Stepped terraces. Bell towers. Mailboxes. Hot tubs. Wishing wells. Roads. Hummers parked in the driveways. Soon, the dads were clearing the way for construction crews, in order to add 3-season rooms and master suites. These were no longer ordinary holiday gingerbread houses; they were ski resorts and mansions built with the architectural skill, attention and prowess of Franks Lloyd Wright or Gehry.

I can't wait to get the gang together and start building our pinewood derby cars. I already promised to bring the chain saw and caulking gun.

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