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Easter, despite my best intentions

Egg dying fun.

Egg dying fun.

I should have known I was in trouble in early April, when Henry was showing Eli the calendar, and saying, “See, this is the 12th, and that’s Easter, and that’s the day that…” “That’s the day that what?” I said. Henry said, “You know!” I told him that I did not know. “You know, the day that the Easter Bunny hides eggs in our yard.”

Well. Yes. I did of course know about the Easter Bunny, but he has never exactly visited our yard before. And where did Henry get all the Easter Bunny info? Well, from Kindergarten, of course. Apparently Easter is an established unit in the curriculum. I sort of threw myself into a tizzy about this, because, frankly, we’ve never done much for Easter, and now it was clear I was going to have to do something, egg-hiding-wise. Also, is anyone else offended by introducing a Christian holiday into the public school curriculum? Or, more importantly, by the fact that apparently someone said that the Easter Bunny flies in on a giant chicken? And when Henry said that his teacher wasn’t exactly sure which day Earth Day is, I actually had to do an impromptu jig of upset and consternation, lest he think I was mad at him instead of the situation. I mean, I guess it’s nice that they’re learning about eggs, but isn’t, oh, I don’t know, SPRINGTIME just as good an excuse for some good old egg learnin’? And aren’t there roughly 1,000 excellent topics that could be introduced around Earth Day that don’t involve giant imaginary bunnies or religion in school? (Granted, they never mentioned Jesus in any of the Easter lessons, but at some point some kid is going to make the connection.)

Always looking for an excuse to use the egg plate. I could barely take this photo before the boys ate every egg but one. So much for hiding these eggs in the yard.

Always looking for an excuse to use the egg plate. I could barely take this photo before the boys ate every egg but one. So much for hiding these eggs in the yard.

I maintained my usual Easter ritual, which is dying eggs. We wrapped them in rubber bands, which we did last year too, and it makes them look groovy. I aspire to be one of those moms who dyes eggs using tea leaves and indigo plants I grow organically in my backyard, but in the meantime I’ll use PAAS. Plus, I don’t think indigo is hardy to Zone 4.

So then we were stuck with Easter morning, and with me stalwartly refusing to accept the Easter Bunny into our lives. And then Henry went upstairs and drew a gorgeously intricate paper egg, and said, “Maybe the Easter Bunny will have magic dust and can make this egg real! I’m going to put it in the backyard and wait.” Which sent Dave and I into the kitchen to have the following tensely whispered conversation:

Dave: I’m going out.
Julie: Where? Everything is closed. I think you’ll have to go to CVS.
Dave: That’s where I’ll go.
Julie: Then what?
Dave: I don’t know. I’m going to get something to hide in the backyard.
Julie: Don’t get candy!
Dave: Ok.
Julie: What are you going to get?
Dave: I don’t know. He wants that egg to turn into a real egg.
Julie: What, you’re going to find a FabergĂ© egg at CVS?
Dave: Maybe. Do you have a better idea?
Julie: I was thinking we could make cupcakes.
Dave: What, and then hide them in the backyard?
Julie: I don’t know! Get coloring books.

Dave left and somehow managed to return within five minutes, carrying two perfect coloring books (tractors for Eli, dinosaurs for Henry) and a package of mini Cadbury eggs. I took the giant paper egg and thrust it into the arms of a stuffed bunny I happened to have in the basement (don’t ask), and we put the bunny and coloring books on the picnic table, and threw the Cadbury eggs onto the grass like we were naturalizing daffodils.

Then, in accordance with our general slow holiday framework, we waited. Finally, after about half an hour, Henry came downstairs with a piece of paper on which he’d drawn a submarine and cut out the peephole window, and he was planning to look through the window to spy Easter goodies. He got pretty excited about the lame backyard haul, and the dino book has been pretty sustaining.

And then of course I did make cupcakes with them. Lemon butterfly cupcakes! Make vanilla cupcakes, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to the batter, plus zest if you have fresh lemons. After baking, cut off the top, spread the cupcake with lemon curd, cut the top part in half, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and stick into the curd like wings. Yum.

Is Easter going to happen in school every year? Do I have to be the Mom who ruins the Easter Bunny for all the other kids? Do I need to embrace the plastic and candy? (No to that last question.)

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7 Responses to “Easter, despite my best intentions”

  1. 1
    SereneBabe:

    This was one of my favorite posts. Loved the slow Christmas one, too. :-)

    What bugs me more than the Easter bunny in school is THAT ISN’T WHAT EASTER IS ABOUT. I’m certainly not expecting them to teach the Easter story as fact, no way. But, #1, not all of their students (OBVIOUSLY) celebrate Easter. And, #2, they should be learning about the history of such days if there is any mention of them at all.

  2. 2
    Julie:

    The thing is, I think that there may not be any obvious non-Easter-celebrators in the class (e.g., Jews), but there must be other struggling-with-religioners like us. Henry did come home one day and ask, “Do we celebrate Easter?” so presumably they asked the students if they did (which, of course, if that’s what happened, would also totally single out the pagan kid who says no). What struck me is just that, were I a kindergarten teacher, Easter would be about the last thing I mentioned, unless I was also mentioning Equinox and Passover, and even then, I’m not sure I’d bring it up. Who wants to be explaining crucifixion to 5 year olds? I mean, yeah, not that they would, but that issue is THERE, underneath, and so why bring it up at all.

    I didn’t even mention the fact that Henry came home on Friday with a little paper BASKET filled with awful petroleum-based disposable Easter grass and CANDY. Which continues to be a sore point with me. Don’t get me all excited by saying that they emphasize healthy eating and then have them counting LUCKY CHARMS for math.

  3. 3
    Anne:

    This teacher has been nutty all year, hasn’t she? Or are all the kindergarten teachers using the same playbook?

    The changing of seasons makes for a nice teaching opportunity, especially since the change from winter to spring is so dramatic. But Easter itself? I’d also be annoyed if I were a super-religious parent, because Easter would mean something completely different to them than crappy baskets filled with candy. (And it would be totally within reason to send in a note or give a call expressing concern about all the sugar they’re giving these kids.)

  4. 4
    emily:

    yeah, geez. It seems like it would make life so much simpler for the TEACHERS, you know, just to go with earth day and ecological spring celebration. no one can argue with “changing of the seasons” as a unifying, equal-opportunity unit heading. cuz the christians are doing their own thing at home, presumably, as are the Jews, doing passover and negotiating the petroleum bunnies, which they have done for a long time and hopefully have a self-affirming answer to for their children who ask, “why don’t we?”…. The pagans are bearing their own cross, so to speak, negotiating the petoroleum-and-candy deal without a corresponding, written-down in a bible/torah, community-upheld counter-holiday…So… CAN’T THE SCHOOLS just stick to SCIENCE, for GAWD’S SAKE? Wouldn’t it be EASIER on THEM?

    Today is my day for capitols, EVIDENTLY.

  5. 5
    Julie:

    Yes! Wouldn’t it be simpler for the teachers? That’s exactly what I think. And Anne, I’m not sure if all the kindergarten teachers went all Eastery or not. Henry’s teacher is generally great, but I do have issues with some curricular themes in general (that “I’m a Little Indian” thing, for instance). But most of it I’m totally fine with. The stuff I’m totally fine with isn’t nearly as interesting to blog about, however.

  6. 6
    Beth:

    I have to admit, I was kind of surprised when Alessandro came home with some Easter bunny art work (they had supplied spongy stickers of bunnies, eggs and flowers)and mentioned that the kids talked about the holiday in school. Though I guess that bunnies and eggs are from the original, pre-christian pagan holiday anyway. So maybe it’s all coming around full circle?

    One other thing. Every year we go down to see Joe’s folks in N.J. and go to their huge, gothic Catholic church for Easter Mass. 2 years ago, Alessandro finally paid attention to the homily and shouted out, “What?? They killed Jesus?” and burst into tears. (I guess we’d never told him how the story ends, but he was only 4, after all.) Now I’m not sure how to handle the whole thing. This year, we over-slept and went to get coffee and hung out at the park instead.

  7. 7
    Julie:

    Beth, oversleeping and going to the park sounds like the perfect Easter to me.

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