Friday, April 18, 2008

Dye-hard egg hunt

Before I became a grandmother, I never knew it would be so much fun — or so complicated.

For instance, we hosted a houseful for Easter: granddaughters Caitlyn (12), Alyssa (9), Isabelle (8) and Georgia (5), plus our son Sean and his fiancée, Kim. What resulted was this family’s longest-ever Easter egg hunt.

The girls are each so different! And there were some special circumstances to consider: one girl is severely allergic to most nuts; another is fairly fussy about which candies she likes (such as peanut-butter cups); and a third was on crutches, with her leg in a cast after a sledding accident.

The fourth is 5.

So this hunt required some MBA-level pre-planning.

The holiday event began as soon as the girls awoke, with a nervous Easter Bunny (EB) fervently hoping the preparations would produce frolic and fun, but without any youthful hurt feelings, tears or temper tantrums.

At the dining table, each place was set with an egg-shaped place mat, a bunny mug, an Easter candy and a couple of little gifts to keep the girls occupied during breakfast. Meanwhile, EB snuck out, put four filled baskets on the front porch and hid 28 boiled hens’ eggs the girls had colored the day before.

Once the adults were up (if not yet Easter outfitted or even totally awake), the chant began. “Egg hunt! Egg hunt!”

When the girls opened the front door, the squeals began. Baskets! Candy! Trinkets! Chocolate bunnies (three of them filled with peanut cream and delightfully named “Reester Bunnies,” and one nut-free Cadbury)! The giggling gaggle of girls deposited their loot on the dining table, then dashed out the door in search of eggs.

“Halt! Wait!” EB said with nose twitching. “Rule time. There are seven eggs out there for each of you. Caitlyn and Isabelle — once you’ve found seven each, then go help Georgia and Alyssa,” who was limping around on crutches.

Caity and Izzy were done in a flash, of course, but they amiably played “you’re getting warmer … colder” with the other two girls as a couple of adults trailed along to make sure Georgia didn’t wind up stranded in a tree and Lyssie didn’t fall over trying to dig an egg out of a flower pot.

Meanwhile, EB and her two cohorts were inside the house, hiding candy-filled plastic eggs and other goodies.

Once the girls had found all the real eggs outside, the hunt was on in the living room, dining room and halls. It was like having four caffeine-amped monkeys playing “I spy” throughout the house, peering into vases, under couch cushions and behind pillows.

(I so hope they got it all. I remember my grandmother finding an overlooked chocolate egg in August one year — behind the radiator on a white rug that wasn’t white any more.)

Once our girls had ferreted out the goodies, the “Easter Banker” took over.

With a reserve of each kind of candy in another basket, the Easter Banker could exchange candies for another kind. That way, the fussy eater and the nut-allergic could redeem treats they’d found but couldn’t or wouldn’t eat. The other girls could exchange, too, if they wanted to.

Were we done yet? Not a chance.

After Easter Banker negotiations finished, the girls whooped and headed outside again.

Soon they were back, announcing that the adult Easter Egg Hunt was about to begin. They’d re-hidden the colored eggs, and now the parents and grandparents were to find them.

Devious? I ask you, how was I to know they’d hidden an egg under an upside-down abalone shell?

With a little coaching and a lot of hilarity, hooting and hollering from the youthful gallery, we oldsters finally found all the eggs (which by then were destined for the garbage rather than a deviled-egg tray or egg-salad sandwiches).

Whew! The hunt was over. We’d pulled it off. We’d made memories — and a huge, so-funny mess. A month later, in the most unlikely places, we’re still finding biliously pink and purple strands of Easter grass.

Could the Easter Bunny finally relax? Of course not. She’s already planning the 2009 hunt, playing “Can you top this?”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

love the blog , making me home sick,
this was the first year my kids 11/5 dyed eggs , not a costa rica custom hard to explain the concept but they had fun next year will try baskets and bunnies

have sean write me please