Ella went to her first Easter egg hunt on Saturday.
Also on Saturday, during Ella’s first Easter egg hunt, I successfully suppressed urges to teach my daughter to beat down other 2 to 5 year-old children in the quest for gathering the most eggs and winning the best prizes. I also did not take matters into my own hands, pick her up and run her around to all the eggs that I could plainly see, nor did I intentionally hide eggs from other children or put any in my pocket to deposit into my daughter’s basket when nobody was watching. Even though I wanted to, very badly.
I delighted in her bounty of two sugary eggs and did not express disappointment in her lack of the big plastic ones that earned more candy (which we would have hidden in the pantry and doled out in rations until I had eaten it all).
After all, she was a rookie.
I mean … after all, it was a fun event, created for the sheer enjoyment of children in celebration of fairy-tale rabbits, candy gods and pastel.
Besides, it was my fault. I failed to teach Ella all about Easter egg hunts. I should have gone over the rules, diagrammed the course, discussed strategies, put her through a dry run with our dogs as competitors, distracted her with loud recordings of parents cheering and cursing. I could have taught her to block out. I could have told her to run fast to the other end of the school lawn, turn around and start gathering all the eggs the slow children hadn’t yet reached.
But, I didn’t.
OK. OK! I confess. I did do one thing. I picked her up and
rushed walked casually ahead of to the front of the crowd. But only after it was clear that most of the eggs had been found, and only because she could hardly move in her big winter coat (it was colder than a witches boob!) and only because, dammit!, I just couldn’t help myself! The other little pukes were finding all the freaking eggs! Ella was a deer in the headlights!
Is it wrong of me to want more for my child? Is it wrong to want her to win, to beat the competition into a mass of indistinguishable mush?
No, no. I know. She’s only 2. It’s all about fun. Fun and games. Games and fun. Getting along and all that crap.
Seriously. I know the kid has to have fun. I was surprised to feel so competitive, to have those urges pounding at my door.
I’ll take an oath: I swear I will not be one of those parents who rushes the soccer field to take down a ref or an opposing player. I will not project onto her my disappointments and shortcomings. I will let her choose her activities and encourage her and teach her about persistence and discipline, to be proud of her accomplishments and how to win and lose gracefully. I will teach her that not everything in life is a competition, that true enjoyment can be found in helping others and that happiness is being in the moment.
Geez, that’s almost sickening.
But I’ll do it! It falls under the 180 rule — remember how I was reared and go the opposite direction.
On Sunday we held another Easter egg hunt in our backyard with one of Ella’s friends.
She was having a great time and found eight eggs (who’s counting!?). Then she stopped in the middle of the yard, looked at her mom and squatted for a few seconds.
Miraculously, I knew what she was doing before Trish did.
“Do you need to poop?”
“Ella, do you need to poop?”
“Poop and gas. Poop and gas.”
“Trish,” I said, with great haste, “she has to poop! Take her inside to poop!” (Ella greatly prefers her mother’s company, especially during the mid-day poop. I think I get a little antsy, but Trish will sit there and read books and sing songs. It’s very organic.) We’re in the potty training stage where we encourage her to poop on the toilet and take advantage of pre-poop messages, but we don’t force her to sit on the toilet.
Several minutes later Ella emerged from the house, beaming, and declared for all to hear: “Poop!”
“Ah, did you have a good poop? That’s my girl.”
Nothing like a good poop to punctuate a holiday.