by Shawna Let’s face it, for the first couple of years, rituals performed with our children are not for the kids’ sake. No one remembers their first birthday party or first Christmas, but a lot of times we jump through hoops in order to fulfill our visions of the way things should be. Or maybe to appease our parents’ visions of the way things should be. Or maybe (and just as valid in my opinion), to have great photos to hang onto.
But now that my oldest is five and my youngest is almost three, my family is venturing into the time that early, lasting memories are formed and it’s time to start thinking about what traditions my kids grow up with. And with Easter coming soon, I’ve been sifting through my own memories to see which Easter activities I enjoyed the most, and want to pass along.
To this day, the smell of hot vinegar reminds me of Easter eggs. Sure we tried various ways to colour them, but the deepest-rooted memories are ones that engage the olfactory sense, n’est-ce pas? I can still vividly recall lowering eggs carefully with a spoon into several pots of acrid-smelling coloured liquid and watching them as they slowly became more and more vivid.
Having said that though, the last two years we’ve had great success with q-tips and food colouring (the end result is often reminiscent of a tie-dye) with my daughter and it seems like a good option to start my son out with this year (I verified he could handle eggs, even with his allergy and was told that yes, he could as long as they’re hard-boiled). We’ll probably stick with that for a few years until maybe my kids’ fine motor skills allow something a little fancier. I’ve always had a hankering to try my hand at those pretty, Ukranian-style Easter eggs that use wax and dye.
The Easter Egg Hunt
I grew up on a farm so there were many, many great places to hide eggs (including in the chickens’ nesting boxes). The best years though, were the ones where my parents put together a scavenger-hunt-style hunt, with one clue leading us to the next cache of eggs and clue, finishing up at the hiding place of our big Easter chocolate treat.
My kids are too young to read and not that good at finding hidden things yet, so we may be able to be lazy and just “hide” eggs in random, fairly obvious spots for another year or two. We can do this out at my mom’s in the country, where she still has chickens with nesting boxes to hide eggs in. We’ve just got to be aware that the eggs may be in danger of being eaten by a hungry beagle if we try to hide them too early and too low to the ground. If we get really ambitious we can draw symbols for clues in a mini-scavenger hunt.
After all the eggs are found, I think my kids will continue the tradition of rolling them on the lawn. What? Don’t look at me like that – it’s a real tradition. My family didn’t make it up, despite the incredulity of all my friends at school when I told them that’s what one does with Easter eggs.
By the way, I know of one family that has an Easter beer hunt for the adults. They hide a variety of micro-brews and each adult gets a six-pack box to fill with his or her finds. You’re welcome.
The Junk Food Controversy
Admit it, you loved the orgy of Easter chocolate when you were a kid. I know I did – for a few years my grandmother bought us outrageously expensive chocolate eggs that had fondant-decorated chocolate lids that could lift off to reveal that they were filled with chocolates. Because this is such a fond memory of mine, I will let my kids have chocolate Easter treats. They might be a bit smaller while my kids are also small, but I have no doubt that they’ll get excessive in a couple of years. I would even go to the same chocolatier if I could, but it was a small shop in Montreal and I don’t think they exist any more.
Whatever your traditions are, or even if you have nothing special planned for Easter, Kids in the Capital hopes you have a great long weekend!
Shawna is mom to 5-year-old Sage and almost-3-year-old Harris. She has been writing online since 2003, and her latest project is her photography business. She is concocting ambitious plans involving chocolate and fondant for next year.