Whether you celebrate Easter as a Christian or enjoy it as a secular holiday, you probably have a few traditions that have sprung up around the occasion. Ours have changed a bit over the years as our kids matured.
No longer do we get up at 4 AM (or earlier 🙁 ) to do our Easter egg hunt. Last year, in fact, we had to wake Frank at 10. No longer are the kids content to fish eggs out of drawers and from under pillows; they like to be “challenged”. (So much so, I found two of last year’s eggs just last week hidden under the emergency candles.)
There have been years we’ve gone to church, years we’ve stayed in and lolled around in our pyjamas until supper, and years we’ve had strawberry waffles with extended family. But through it all, there is one sight I have witnessed every Easter for the last eight years: Frank at day’s end, belly bloated from chocolate, brown lips stretched in the smile of the utterly content.
I almost didn’t get to see that today and was a little stunned at how much that shook me.
I know, I know. How I can talk about health so much, yet not only permit, but count on my son eating to excess? I’m scratching my head, too. Nevertheless, there it is. Frank puts up with cupboards empty of junk food all but two days of the year (Christmas is the other occasion) in large part, I believe, because he has these kind of outlets. Also, I never intended for this to become a ritual; there was just this one Easter morning eons ago when I wasn’t wise enough to set a pre-breakfast chocolate limit and lo, my boy-child did indulge.
“I don’t need the calories, Mom,” he said. Then he turned his 3% body-fat self sideways, thus rendering himself invisible, and slipped through the railings in the banister.Anyway, imagine my surprise when this year Frank announced he didn’t want candy, chocolate, or an egg hunt. What he did want was cash. Enough to buy a video game that cost more than four times what I’d typically spend on his Easter goodies.
Why is parenting always filled with these landmines, huh? Thank goodness I know better. If I were to have given in to this seemingly win-win proposition, I would have birthed a new tradition; one where a child threatens poor behavior, hints about how to steer them from the precipice, then names an exorbitant price. Let’s face it: this is bribery of which Frank speaks, albeit bribery in a cheerfully-yellow, peep-filled disguise.
In the end we compromised. I’d give him the cash equivalent of what I would have spent on his junk food, and he’d put it towards a video game. Perfect, right?
Except I forgot to nail down the fine print. While I thought I understood where Frank would spend his money, I did not specify. And once he held the money in his hand, he decided he wanted candy after all. He just wanted to choose it for himself and purchase it in the discount supermarket in order to maximize his dollar to calorie ratio.
Yay. My child understands the value of money, gets to indulge in his ritual and demonstrates qualities of self-agency. Why am I not cheering about this?
How about you? Any Easter traditions with which you have a love-hate relationship? Times your kids got a leg up on you in negotiations? Tips on nailing down “the specifics” beforehand? ‘Cause it looks like I’m going to need them. Oy. He’s only thirteen, guys.
PS: If you need an antidote for the silly male bunnies, and want to look at a different kind of Easter basket, I made you a present. Enjoy.