Sunday, April 08, 2007

Rational Strategery

The easter egg hunt at our house is a blast.

The SYO was an early reader (which isn't bragging, by the way. It has honestly had at least as many negative consequences as positive ones. In fact, the only two positive consequence that immediately come to mind are, well, Easter-egg-hunts and that we can cross that ability off the list and consider her literate.)

She never learned the art of the egg hunt and we never figured out (as first-time-around parents) how the random placement of the egg leads to actually finding the basket itself, and how one communicates that to a young child. So, three years ago we started having the bunny leave notes in little eggs leading her on a scavenger hunt that eventually lead to the basket itself.

It is a blast. We led her upstairs and downstairs, inside and ouside with little clues that, at their best rhymed, and at their worst were, well, straight forward, like "You'll find your next clue near a man of cement, he's shorter than you. . . It's finally over, Lent!" [The egg was sitting next to our little St. Francis statue outside in the sub-freezing temps this morning.] Or, "I'm where ice cream lives."

This year was even more fun because at one point the egg-clues turned to base-ball-like-egg-clues which eventually led to Big's basket too.

The baskets were mirrors of each other filled with a bit of candy, sand toys, side-walk chalk, a few swimming toys and one delectable chocolate bunny. When I was a kid, I always looked forward to the cheap-sugary-hollow bunny. And now, as an adult, I buy the kids good, reasonably-sized solid chocolate bunnies and threaten in a Sally Forth sort of way to eat the ears before they get to them.

What is constant each year, however, is the way that Seven (as did Six, Five, and Four) literally inhales her easter candy. At least as much of it as she can until we surrepticiously hide it and it gets forgotten.

This year the bunny stuck m&m's and a few other chocolates in his/her egg-clues, included the above-referenced bunny in the baskets and also one reeses peanut butter egg in each basket. During the thrill of chasing from one clue to the next, Seven would stop and stuff herself with as many of the "bonus" chocolates (in the clue-eggs) as possible. I later found the wrapper for the reeses egg on the kitchen table (and by "later" I mean the difference between 8:30 and 9:15 a.m.) and she had completely unwrapped the chocolate bunny in apparent anticipation of consuming it in its entirety.

At first glance, this might appear to be horrifying.

But maybe that's just from a parent's perspective. I know, from experience, that that kind of candy intake is directly proportional to a negative attitude.

BioMom reacts because she remembers hoarding her candy, savoring it bit-by-bit, finishing the last remnants while watching the fourth-of-July fireworks display over Forest Lake. I have a friend who is so expert in this way that she once brought out her Easter-shaped sweet-tarts for all to share at an October dinner party (hi Liz!).

But I think we parents have a tendency to inaccurately impose our memories on our especially young kids. While I do have a few vague images of my first and second grade years, I certainly don't remember what I did with my cheap hollow chocolate easter bunny -- whether it was gone by the end of the day or if I was picking off the lint and mold months later in a drawn-out consumptive orgasm. I have a feeling that my real childhood memories didn't coalesce until I was at least nine or ten and even then, I probably retrospectively impose values on them that I did not consistently and regularly display until well after middle school. So it isn't fair to look at Seven and think "But I kept MY room clean" or "I saved MY Halloween candy all year!" or "I practiced piano religiously."

Instead, I've come to think that her behavior is a rational response to her situation as powerless child.

Think about it. They don't don't ever find themselves, say, a little down, on the verge of menstruation, spouse out of town on business, thinking, "I think I'll have ice cream for dinner. . . An ENTIRE PINT in fact!"

So, faced with the structure of parental dietary guidelines, it is only rational to consume as much candy as fast as possible knowing that every year the bunny seems to disapperate (yes, I am still wading through the thousands of Harry Potter pages along with Cousin in anticipation of the seventh book's release) at some point, to some unknown, ever to be rediscovered locale.

As I write this, the two expensive, solid chocolate bunnies in our house are hidden away and, unlike their velveteen cousin, no child's love will make them real or even revealed.

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