Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Mostly because the symbol of springtime and renewal has transformed over the years into an eight foot tall rabbit that lays eggs and sneaks into people’s houses to leave baskets of chocolates. That is an anthropomorphic personification I can get behind.
Anyway, one of the rites of passage for children during this season is the Easter Egg hunt. This year, we decided Abigail was old enough to enjoy this sort of thing so we decided to go to the huge event they hold in Encinitas. This particular hunt had three major advantages. First, it had a special “Two and Under” group, so older children wouldn’t trample Abigail in the mad dash for plastic eggs. Second, that group went first, so clearly parking wouldn’t be a problem. And third, we didn’t look for any other ones.
This morning, we noticed right off the bat that advantage two was off the list. The cars were lined up quite a way from the park itself, and naturally we had declined to bring a stroller. Or a basket. Or sunscreen. Grandparents showed up to help with the basket, but it was a daddy carrying and shading day for the other two.
Once we got into the park itself, they lined us up, a huge pile of children who were supposedly not older than two. I’m willing to be generous with our definition of “two” here, because the folks running the show certainly were. Perhaps they should have been checking IDs. When the allotted time came, they herded us out into an open baseball field, littered with hundreds of tiny plastic eggs. An orange strip of tape was the only barrier between the pressing mass of children and parents and their roundish quarry. A man with a bullhorn shouted instructions that nobody could hear nor cared about.
Then they unleashed the swarm.
This was when we found out that our first reason to come to Encinitas wasn’t valid either. Parents shoved their kids forward, snatching up eggs and throwing them into their own kids baskets. In less than a minute, the field was denuded of eggs. It was biblical. These families could have easily been one of Pharaoh’s punishments.
Abigail got three, and then won another one that was under dispute with another boy. He ended up dropping it in her basket, but it was already open. A fair compromise.
But I saw kids with 20 or more eggs in their baskets. I don’t know if you’re familiar with any two year olds, but they are not adept at the rapid collection and basket-delivery of semi-spherical objects. I saw a woman picking up eggs and tossing them into her kids basket. What contest were these parents trying to win exactly? Once broken open, these eggs revealed candies that I did not plan on letting Abigail eat. Most of them could be considered choking hazards for the age group in question. Getting 20-plus of these for your child should be considered a fail, not a win.
To make matters worse, the “Easter Bunny” they were charging $5 a picture with was some sort of rabbit-human hybrid. Instead of the typical happy rabbit mask, there was a hole cut out and you could see the face of the person inside. They had drawn whiskers and a nose on, but still. We went to the mall straight away and got Abigail’s picture taken with a real Easter Bunny. It cost us $35, but when you consider the savings in therapy sessions, I think we saved a bundle.