Wednesday, April 6, 2011
An Egg Hunt Already
This week is Spring Break for all of the schoolkids of Podunkville, so I invited some of DS's preschool classmates and their older siblings to join us at the park for an Egg Hunt this morning. It was actually a lot of fun, but I had been dreading it. The invite consisted of an email from me with the instruction to "bring 10 eggs for each child you're bringing." Turns out that was not clear enough, apparently, because I got several emails and calls asking questions like:
"What kind of eggs do I bring? Hard-boiled and dyed, right?" (A: Any colorful round thing we could hide somewhere outdoors and a little kid could find would be acceptable.)
"Do we put candy in them? Or are we trying to avoid sugar." (A: Feel free to put candy, or anything, or nothing at all in them.)
"Is there going to be any chocolate? Because my kid can't have dairy! And by the way I'm not even sure we can make it, but I definitely know we can't come if people will be bringing chocolate." (If you've been reading my blog long enough, this particular parent ought to sound a little familiar... A: I asked people not to include chocolate, and no one did. And then the anti-cow protein lady's kid got sick last night so they couldn't even make it today anyway.)
"Are you worried about salmonella poisoning if the kids eat real eggs that have been sitting out for so long?" (A: Um, not really. But if you are, maybe, don't let your kid pick up any real eggs? Just an idea.)
I showed all of the emails to DH, and he wrote a really funny set of "Egg Hunt F.A.Q.'s" that I loved, but ultimately did not send. It included snarky gems like the definitions of the words "egg" and "hunt," along with a description of the way the Easter season is currently celebrated in the U.S. including "chocolate rabbits and eggs, etc." Too bad I didn't send it, but I don't think they would have gotten the joke.
But you know, what this all really boils down to is that I am actually the problem. I really, truly feel that in this context, I totally am. So I chose to take all of those emails as constructive feedback about me and my relationship with the people of my little community. The emails in my inbox were trying to tell me that I tend to make way too many assumptions about the tendencies of the people of Podunkville to want to do something crazy like use their best judgment, or do their own parenting. People here are very, very literal. Yes, a few of them love to feel like people are catering to their "specialness" but most of them seem to like to be told exactly what to do, in the form of brightline rules about things as seemingly obvious as a children's egg hunt in the park. So I just need to accept it. That is how things are in Podunkville. I just need to get better at taking life as it comes, and accepting people for who they are - not some fairytale version of the "reasonable people" I sometimes wish they'd be.
However, I also realized there were several people who didn't email me with any odd questions and passive-aggressive, unnecessary requests. People who simply read the email, showed up, helped me hide eggs, and contributed to the fun. Those are the people I need to focus on in the future and ask on playdates (hate that term.)
Interestingly, like the local egg hunt DS was invited to last year, the real eggs one of the moms brought were the big hit of the morning - all of the older siblings were trying to get them. Luckily, the younger ones, like my DS, were more than happy to trade their real ones with a bigger kid for a "Soy Glory 3" egg containing "fun dough." That totally made DS's day.
In other news, my kids are growing up too fast. DD is 18 months old, is about to get her first salon haircut (BTW, we always go to the beauty school, where it's cheap, the students are young and hip, and they won't give you a mullet); and is finally saying a lot of words that people in the outside world can usually also understand. DD says "hold me" and raises her arms toward the nearest adult (in case "hold me" wasn't clear enough). She is finally sitting through an entire board book and also demanding them to be read to her over and over. Last night she kept saying "Brown Bear Brown Bear" as clear as a bell, leaving no doubt as to which nighttime story she wanted. Coincidentally, the books in that series were also big time favorites of DS's at the same age - something about the catchy colors and the rhythm of the words, maybe?
DS finally started learning the alphabet and has been writing his first name - in all caps - and always asks to borrow my pen anytime he sees me writing something. Behaviorally, DS is in a really good place right now. He's been using words a lot more instead of screeching, and we've been reacting a lot less. And for that we sincerely thank thee, Sharon Silver. Oddly enough, since purchasing one of those popular handheld portable devices that allow you to download books, DH has actually read 2 other parenting books and has even been giving me some tips! I'm really enjoying the parenting conversations DH and I have been having, now that he actually knows what is going on with the research. I'd better pinch myself.