Things got a little weird last week, and we blame Pinterest, the Hus-B and Lilly Pulitzer. (Troublemakers all.) The Hus-b was out of town so we were on 24/7 Little Lady wrangling duty. There’s only so much sanity that can be expected from a woman who spends her entire day with someone who speaks a grand total of one word, thinks dead leaves are a superb snack, and rubs goat cheese into her face like it’s La Mer.
So we were already somewhat vulnerable when we spotted a charming idea on Pinterest for the Little Lady’s upcoming birthday festivities: special edition Lilly Pulitzer Barnum’s Animal Crackers. The little boxes with their twine handles are so sweetly nostalgic, and we could just picture a tower of cheerful pink-and-green boxes stacked atop the children’s buffet table. But what really truly sold us on the idea were two words: Special. Edition. Apparently these dear little boxes of animal crackers only come out once a year and are available at select (and seemingly random) retailers across the country. There’s even a — wait for it — Cracker Tracker map on the Lilly Pulitzer website where (crazy) people can post locations where Lilly crackers have been spotted.
Clearly, we had to have them. A lot of them. And sure, in the Internet age it’s easy enough to come by even the most limited edition of items (eBay sellers are currently listing Lilly crackers for upwards of 10x the original price), but that’s expensive *and* it’s cheating. We were determined to build our stockpile the old-fashioned way: by systematically stalking and cleaning out every purported Lilly cracker retailer in the entire Bay Area. (Because that sounds totally reasonable.)
We began with the only San Francisco market listed on the (I can’t believe how many times I’m about to use this term) Cracker Tracker. One easy phone call to the store’s manager and their entire remaining supply — a paltry ten boxes — was mine. When I finally had those precious little boxes in my hands, it was like it was 1983 and I’d just scored a Cabbage Patch Doll. It was thrilling, and I was completely and totally hooked.
I spent the rest of the day following the Cracker Tracker, driving from store to store buying every last box of Lilly crackers. (Even now, we have to admit that the sight of a supermarket shelf that we’d just completely cleaned out was kind of awesome.) We were so singularly focused that we completed our stockpile in a single afternoon, returning home accomplished, a little dazed (we’d skipped lunch, of course) and proudly toting a plethora of Lilly crackers.
Our Cracker Tracker high wore off the following day as we watched the Little Lady eating her breakfast. As she inexpertly shoveled waffles into her dear little face and easily seventy percent of them ended up on our kitchen floor, we realized that we just wasted an entire day of our life chasing cookies that are going to be drooled on, crunched into car seat upholstery, and ground to dust in the bottom of diaper bags.
*No one* will care.
Or at least, no one will care other than the approximately 17 other head cases who know about the Cracker Tracker. Why, then, had we spent so much time amassing this ridiculous collection? And why did it feel so damn satisfying?
Clearly, we need to get out more. (No doi.) But more pointedly, cracking up over Lilly crackers reminded us of how much parenting has left us feeling…futile. Our achievements on a daily basis include convincing a ten month old to eat, nap and not dent her noggin on that — ohmigod, don’t put that shoe in your mouth! — none of which feel like achievements at all, really. You don’t sparkle at a dinner party talking about poop and baby music class. People are vaguely embarrassed for you when the latest New York Times article you’ve read is about playground slide injuries.
This can leave you vulnerable to the temptation of a discrete, attainable task, like say, buying limited edition animal crackers. (Ouch.) The solution, while certainly not buying Lilly crackers (there are none left anyway, haha!), perhaps lies in finding regular goals that are novel, pleasant and belong to you and you alone. That and knowing that, while it may not make for scintillating conversation, the everyday inanities of child rearing do matter and are all part of what will ultimately make your child a capable, extraordinary little person.