Easter is…for Inducing Ulcers in Parents

If “Christmas is for children,” is “Easter for competition-obsessed parents?” If so, I may have coined the new tagline of the season.

I am specifically referring to The Hunt: the time when children run cluelessly around a sea of cheap plastic eggs as parents shout obscenities about how slowly they are going.

At least that is what happened to us last week during the annual community Easter egg hunt.

Every year, Jamie holds spring training for The Easter Egg Hunt. And every year, the children fail. Really, how difficult could it be? We hold the basket while they shovel in free food. They sure didn’t have any difficulties figuring out the Halloween begging ritual. So what’s the deal with little plastic eggs?

Plenty. Unfortunately for us, they resemble balls (as Bode has explained to us in no uncertain terms as he hurled them in the air last weekend). Hadley had the same obsession. When she was barely talking, she practiced her sports savvy by reciting the different techniques: “Soccer–KICK! Basketball–THROW!!” It was like she was feverishly cramming for a final exam and if she flunked she wouldn’t get into ESPN heaven.

I still remember Hadley’s first community Easter egg hunt when she was almost 2. My competition-obsessed husband carried her to the start of the hunt, all the while massaging her “hammies” to ensure her legs were in superior working order. He then instructed her on the fine art of grabbing and [if necessary] stealing. Gotta prepare her for the harsh realities of life, he reasoned.

The hunt was strategically located in a playground…the perfect locale for any kid who lacked focus and drive. Haddie was one of those kids. “Slide! Swing! Swim!” she kept longingly pointing out. “FOCUS!” we kept drilling into her but you’d think she was almost 2 or something–all she wanted to do was play.

She was up on the slide when the hunt commenced, typical of someone lacking in commitment. Jamie grabbed her and threw her into the competition. She had tried to grab a few eggs before the start but when it came time, she just froze like a bunny in headlights. When she finally got her nerve up, she bent over and rocketed an egg across the field of play as the other kids flocked around.

Desperately, I started shoveling eggs towards her. “Pick them up!” We were losing. But she didn’t care. Within minutes, all the “pretty balls” were gone. And all we had to show for the hunt were a few eggs filled with crappy Tootsie Rolls and Smarties; the least they could have done was award our efforts with chocolate.

And eggs that looked a lot less like balls.

Not that Hadley complained. In fact, she even requested they have basketball hoops the next year.

Just to increase the level of difficulty, of course.

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