Living vicariously. It's what we do.

Let's just admit it. Half the stuff we do "for our kids" is really for us.

Case in point: I was determined to dye Easter eggs with Johnny. Johnny, mind you, is 20 months old.

But last year, I flunked Easter. I had an adorable outfit for him, which he wore to my mom's church, and he screamed bloody murder through the whole thing. I was so rattled, I didn't even snap a photo of him in that precious blue sweater-suit. I didn't bother with a basket or gifts for him last year. I mean, he was an infant. I won't say I wasn't tempted but I feared ridicule from my very German, very practical family. I could just hear them, imagine the sarcasm. "HA! Oh, yes, those chocolate bunnies and boiled eggs are perfect for your infant. And the basket, oh yes, I can see he's thrilled with the quilted, handmade Easter basket you paid thirty bucks for. He's beside himself with what the bunny brought him."

So I skipped the whole thing last year. Picture and all. Whoops.

This year, even though he is still to young to understand, I cracked. I loved Easter baskets and egg hunts and dying boiled eggs and all that stuff as a kid, and I couldn't wait any longer to get Johnny in on the game. Basically, I wanted to dye eggs. I wanted to own plastic eggs in which I could place foil wrapped chocolate eggs or M and M's. Does Johnny give a whit about any of it? Heck no. I don't even let him eat candy (much).

Last night, I boiled up more than a dozen farm fresh eggs, excited to see what the dye would do to the light green and brown eggs. I put Johnny in his high chair to "participate" in the fun, thinking he'd like to see the eggs changing color and maybe stir one around. My husband had tried in vain days before to ask if I didn't think Johnny might still be a little young for such an activity, but I was undeterred. WE WERE GONNA DYE SOME EGGS, DAMMIT.

Mark it down, people. My husband was right. That's right, I said it. He was right. Johnny took one look at the coffee cup full of beautiful blue dye and started screaming. He wanted to drink it. He was tired, and he was going to drink. from. that. cup.

About the time the screaming went to full throttle, my husband walked in the door. "What happened," he asked, assuming the baby had gashed his head open, what with the volume and vehemence of the crying. "Oh, just dying some Easter eggs," I said, determined still to win the baby over with the extra-fun activity.

Todd picked the baby up out of the high chair and took him to the living room to have some chocolate soy milk and a nighttime story, leaving me in the kitchen with my eggs. Which, of course, I finished, and they are beautiful works of art. My husband reminded me again that he's probably too young and I just said "Hey, let's face it. THIS IS FOR ME."

Today I will put together Johnny's Easter basket and pack it with the rest of our things to take to Grammy's for the weekend, and I will force him to care about it and pose next to it for photos, and we'll read Easter bunny books and my husband will roll his eyes.

But I will be busily remembering the Easters of my past, where my mom made Easter baskets that held Dolly Parton albums and pretty little rings and Cadbury Cream Eggs. And even though my child is too young to understand, I'll still be living vicariously through him. Because, really, why else do we become parents? Reliving our own childhoods is one of the greatest perks.


Jonathan Kealing 7 years, 5 months ago

Easter was always a big deal in my family. And we still get Easter baskets from my mom. This year, she's sending one for my wife as well.

kallipalooza 7 years, 5 months ago

I did the ultimate cheap easter this year. Thrift store basket, princess purse, stuffed chick, shaky egg, books, and small toys. Got a bag of free plastic easter eggs on Craigslist and filled them with tattoos, stickers, fruit snacks, and the OCCASIONAL piece of chocolate. One hollow easter bunny for the "Biting off of the Ears", and we were good to go. I spent less than $5. Oh, and I used tissue paper instead of that damn grass... I was so happy to have avoided the grass, and then at 6 pm we found a basket on the doorstep from our neighbor. Filled with fairies and candy and GRASS. It's everywhere. I hope there is a vacuum cleaner at your garage sale this coming weekend.

Edwin Rothrock 7 years, 5 months ago

I still remember the first time my eldest child stopped to look at ants as we walked along the sidewalk. She was about 20 months at the time (20 years now). We squatted down and spent 5 minutes just watching them scurry around. I remember looking up and suddenly realizing I hadn't just stopped and looked at a spring afternoon for years. It was a very enlightening moment. The shift in perspective back to appreciating the beauty and wonder of the world through her eyes was a lesson I've tried to stay in touch with.

We dyed 5 dozen eggs this year with our 4 grade schoolers - even our HS senior joined in for a few minutes. Lots of stains and lots of dropped eggs, but the hunt the next morning was a blast.

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