Monday, March 24, 2008

The Sweetest Thing

We’d been prepping Peapod all week for her first ever Easter egg hunt.

Our drills included egg finding, basket holding and candy grabbing. But these did not prepare her for the emotional roller coaster that is the Great American Toddler Easter Egg Hunt.

Resplendent in her yellow Easter dress and white (for now) leather sandals, Peapod weathered the actual Easter service with the poise of someone, oh, twice her age… The highlight occurred during communion, when she caused an outburst of church giggles 5-people deep as she urgently pointed and grunted at the minister holding the wine chalice to please bring it back so she could double-dip her holy wafer.

After mass, we headed to the toddler play area where the under-four set would compete for the plastic egg bounty. But nobody else was there. We peered into the windows of several adjacent classrooms only to find a few families milling around with their youngsters, seemingly unaware that the big event was about to start. Clever girl that she is, Peapod used the opportunity to case the joint, which she did mostly by picking up rocks.

Then suddenly out of nowhere, the masses were unleashed and the play yard was teeming with tiny people wearing seersucker suits and frilly pink dresses and grabbing every unnaturally colored plastic orb they could get their sticky hands on.

Peapod froze, the sudden rush of kids causing her to momentarily panic. Moments later, she gathered her composure and wandered slowly to an orange egg about three feet away. She put it lazily in her basket. The Esposo and I jumped up and down, flailing and yelling “Eggs! Eggs! Get the Eggs! Hurry!” She regarded us as though we’d never met, and unhurriedly sauntered off toward the next egg, which was quickly snatched away by some little poacher in a fairy dress.

Our flailing and her sauntering continued for some time until she arrived at a little green egg at precisely the same moment as a young boy – maybe a year older – in a little khaki jacket. The boy picked up the egg, but upon making eye contact with Peapod became wracked with indecision. He looked at the egg, looked at his basket, looked at Peapod and then repeated the whole pattern once more.

With a mixture of pride and resignation, he plopped the egg in Peapod’s basket and scampered off. And off all the Easter treats we collected that day, that one was The Sweetest Thing.

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