There are a lot of posts going around social media right now about Easter egg hunts. Apparently, they have become the non-fiction equivalent of The Hunger Games. Parents are scooping up random toddlers like Little Bunny Foo Foo’s field mice in an effort to secure their own children’s share of the jellybeans. I’m not condoning this behavior, although I do understand the impulse. How sad would it be for your kid to leave the hunt without a single egg? I personally think these parents are just trying to avoid a broken little heart. Either that or they are total competitive asses. It’s hard to know for sure.
I urge leniency from a place of bias though, because I could kind of see myself being one of those parents. You see, when it comes to Easter egg hunts, I am a total competitive ass.
When I was growing up, Easter was one of my favorite holidays. We dyed eggs. We had scalloped potatoes. My mom made this crazy cake that was topped with peeps and jellybeans lying in green-dyed coconut nests. We dressed up and went to church – although given that I was raised Unitarian, the whole Easter thing was always a bit awkward for the minister. But the real meat of Easter was the Easter egg hunt.
Every Easter, my two cousins, my brother and I would take part in an epic Easter egg hunt. My grandfather would hide eggs throughout the backyard. Some were pretty obvious, others were quite tricky and would be unearthed days later. Most were filled with candy. Some with coins. And sometimes, if you were really lucky, you found one of those old L’eggs nylons eggs – basically ostrich-sized eggs for those unfamiliar – filled to the brim with Easter detritus.
My brother was two years older than me and my first cousin, and four years older than my second cousin. So basically he totally had the hunt in the bag. Until our parents imposed the staggered start rule. My younger cousin started first, then my older cousin and I started 30 seconds later, then my brother 30 seconds after that. (My brother grumbled quite a bit about the unfairness of the staggered start, but in reality there was no need to complain. He was a far superior bargainer. Would we like to trade our four quarters for his six jellybeans? Was he crazy? Six is WAY more than four. We will take that trade, kind sir.)
The staggered start was a game changer. Suddenly we were all in the running. We tore through the yard. We dove into ferns. And if we saw one of those L’eggs eggs, all bets were off. Easter hats were flying, shoes were abandoned, hair ribbons littered the ground like Easter grass. It was madness. Total, utter, candy-driven madness. It was awesome.
Years later, when I was in my late 20s, my then-boyfriend/now-husband and I were living in New York City. It was our first Easter living together and I proposed an Easter egg hunt throughout the apartment. He was game.
The morning of Easter arrives. I go out for a run to give him space to hide his ten eggs. (I had hidden mine the night before despite this putting me at a clear disadvantage, so confident was I in my egg-hunting skills) I returned with a bouquet of flowers, set them in a vase on the table, and then we were off! I found nine of those eggs in about 35 seconds. He had found like maybe two. My hunting skills were this finely honed.
But after watching him pace aimlessly, seemingly at a total loss as to how Easter egg hunts work, I start to feel a little bad for him. Geez, he’s actually sweating he’s so far behind. Actually, he seems really oddly nervous about it. And where the heck is that last egg? I had searched every inch of our 700-square foot apartment. Well, except the flowers since I knew that he hid the eggs before I came back. But just to be sure I looked. And there was the egg, nestled on top of the daffodils!
“You cheated!” I said indignantly. “You can’t move the egg!”
“But,” he said, “this is a special egg.”
Yes, you guessed it. My engagement ring was in that last egg. And also – I totally kicked his butt in the Easter egg hunt. Final count: 10 to 4.
So all that to say, I think it’s probably best if I keep myself clear of the large-scale Easter egg hunts. While I don’t think my competitive Easter egg hunting instincts would end up in injury to the preschool set, it’s best not to take chances on this sort of thing.
And anyway, if genetics has anything to do with it, in another year my kids will totally dominate the field without my help.