I don't recall Easter candy being that hot of a commodity when I was a kid. My brothers and sisters and I always enjoyed our stash, but I don't recollect any disputes over our candy. Each year the Easter bunny generously delivered marshmallow eggs, jelly beans, and peeps buried in a knot of fake grass. Of course I do have a vivid memory of devouring all of my loot before the holiday was complete. This memory is seared into my mind only because one of my four siblings ratted me out to my parents. (Yes, I know who it was - I haven't forgotten). My folks were not impressed with my ability to ingest so much sugar in such a short amount of time.
This year we celebrated Easter in our two bedroom hotel room in Williamsburg, VA. Before we left for our vacation, Curly drafted a letter to the infamous bunny detailing our whereabouts on the big day. I had hoped to avoid traveling with baskets and treats, but Curly's disappointment that we wouldn't be home when the big drop off happened played on my heart strings. Receiving the upgrade to a bigger hotel room aided the basket sorting and hiding the night before. The Easter bunny scored big points for 'finding' us. Who doesn't want their kids snacking on piles of candy during a long day and a half car ride? I listened to the favorite jelly bean flavor comparisons and reflected on an Easter issue that arose four years ago . . .
In the Shenanigan home, tattling on Easter candy eating is kid stuff. Easter candy stealing, however, has elevated into some nasty warfare: "give me back my Reese's or I'll eat all of your candy while you sleep." To protect their stash, there is an ongoing ceremony of hiding and re-hiding the Easter baskets. If you discover a basket that you weren't supposed to see, sharing this top secret information can be considered a huge breech. My clever older kids have even perfected the art of bluffing a sibling into revealing a hiding place. Laddie teased a younger brother that he had uncovered his hoard of goodies sending him into a low blood sugar rage as he raced to his 'hidden' basket. His candy was safe, but his basket's cover was blown. This prank cost Laddie. He was ordered to forfeit one Reese's peanut butter cup. Ouch! Eventually I confiscated the baskets and guarded them on top of the fridge. Mini proudly produced her basket, explaining that she had only eaten one jelly bean. Her strategy of saving the candy as long as possible backfired when someone retrieved her basket from the fridge and left it in the open. I take some blame in this, because I had abandoned my post. Upon discovering the basket on the floor, Mini conducted a quick inventory. Uh oh. Her peeps were missing. Tears. Inquiries followed. Eventually her three year old sister, Curly, admitted to indulging on the sugary chicks: "I didn't know I was doing that." Not her most convincing defense.
I struggled to enjoy the Easter aftermath myself. The arguing about "I know I still had two red jelly beans" is only the tip of the iceberg. My home became a field of little foil wrappers discarded willy-nilly all over the house. Not only did it infuriate me to pick them up all day long, but it also served as a slap in the face that my children clearly inhaled candy before the sun was up, and did so in rooms where melted chocolate was strictly forbidden. I appreciated the Bunny's sense in not lining the baskets with annoying plastic grass, because that pesky stuff seemed to multiply and turn up months after the baskets had been tucked into storage. The plastic eggs on the other hand were strewn across every surface of the house. One of the younger kids even filled a bowl with water, submerged three water filled plastic eggs in it, and hid it behind my toilet. The objective on this maneuver still remains as mysterious as the belief that a big bunny hops from house to house on Easter eve.
Getting the kids to school the day after Easter break proved interesting. It wasn't so much the weird way that seven year old Mini was walking, as it was the look on her sweet, innocent face that drew my attention. She was flitting around in her gym uniform, with her sweat pants pulled up higher than normal and her shirt tucked into her pants. There was also a little swishing noise when she scooted past me . . . her eyes locked on my face nervously waiting to see if I would catch it. In the hustle and bustle of the morning, I hesitated just long enough to ask her what was happening. "Nothing." Unconvinced, I resorted to administering a pat down. There, tucked into her pants, where her hands kept awkwardly resting, was a Ziploc bag of jelly beans. Being the child that normally steers clear of trouble, tears were quick to form. "I didn't want the boys to eat them," she admitted. I whispered two words to her while I shook my head disapprovingly. "Underwear drawer." It took a minute before she realized that this was not the name of a new punishment, but consent to hide her snack in a place her brothers would never look.
My parenting style has evolved from that of my folks, because I now encourage all of our kids to take a page out of their mother's play book and devour all of their candy before the day's end.
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