The first time you pick up a glass of what you thought was life-giving Pinot Noir and find you’ve just consumed a big gulp of vinegar and water liberally laced with purple dye, you know it’s Easter. (Not to be confused with “See Daddy go broke Christmas” or “Scrape Mommy off the ceiling Fourth of July”)
Combine a gallon of steaming water, a cup of vinegar, and six tablets of egg dye, ranging in color from “impossible to get out red” to “looks good enough to drink green”, four dozen hard boiled eggs and let the fun begin!
You can only put off coloring eggs for so long. The excuses begin to run out. The kids become a tad bit wiser as they advance in age. Thankfully, I think. When they roll their eyes at “Chickens aren’t laying this year” or the “Peter Cottontail ran away with the Tooth Fairy”, you know its time to dig out six stain resistant cups and borrow every newspaper you can get your hands on. Next step, decide which hand you want stained which color and just hope it at least somewhat coordinates with your chipped nail polish.
Our egg dying ritual continued as I divvied up the eggs. As any mother knows, each child must have exactly the same number of eggs. If not, it is a sure sign that the mother loves the one who has the most eggs. Similarly, the child who has the red dye closest to him or her is obviously the mother’s favorite. Consequently, the mother must be extremely careful to choose which one of the four is her favorite.
My four darlings had each taken their place at the counter when I suddenly noticed my two year old had turned a lovely shade of yellow. Keeping my wits about me, I immediately ruled out jaundice. Primarily because I had not taken him out of the house in months. I immediately examined the box of dye tablets and joy of joys, saw the words that never fail to bring huge relief to a mother’s heart. “Non-toxic”. I then informed the children that I hoped their color scheme did not include yellow as Deen had already used it.
I am proud to say my children are perfectionists. They are not content with merely dropping an egg into a cup of dye. Oh no. Each egg had to reflect their own individual personalities. One had to be all six, er, five colors including a range of variations. One had to have eight names on it, (of course they included the dog and the cat) and one had to be power driven with steel belted radial tires.
Once the dying as has been completed to their satisfaction, the official hunt practice commences. The two older children take it upon themselves to play Peter Rabbit and hide the eggs for their little bothers. Due to pre-dying breakage, during dying breakage and post dying breakage, including but not limited to eggs falling out of trees, eggs being stepped on, eggs being eaten by the dog, and eggs being used as ammunition to see whose egg get to occupy the rain gutter, we have now eliminated our egg population to seven.
Next step is to spend a small fortune on plastic eggs so the little darlings will have something to hunt.
The big morning arrives and the Easter Bunny, cleverly disguised as a slightly overweight bone-tired mother prepares to hide the eggs. He/she knows that, along with Newton’s Law of Gravity, Murphy’s Law #39 there is Easter’s Law of Rain or Drizzle. Thus, the Easter bunny avoids the backyard altogether and heads immediately for the living room.
The children are ecstatic. They search the chair cushions, the bookshelves, and finally, behind the couch.
“Look! I found my egg! I remember making it last year!” my oldest exclaims.
Okay, I get it. That’s what that smell was.