This is a post I originally wrote for the now closed Los Angeles Moms blog. I feel that rookie moms and dads preparing excitedly for their baby’s first Easter Egg Hunt can only benefit in advance from the hard, cold reality that I am about to share with you. I’m not saying don’t go. Information is power.
Easter as a Competitive Event was originally posted on The Los Angeles Moms Blog on April 10, 2009
I am a member of a very popular message group catering largely to mothers living in Los Angeles. In the days after Easter last year, numerous posts appeared describing the horrors of various Easter Egg Hunts held around the city. One common thread ran through all the posts: parents behaving like lunatics.
One mom wrote: "It was like a stampede with clouds of dust and parents running around picking up eggs for their kids, taking the eggs so the other kids could not get them. My 3 year old got one egg and the 2 year old got nothing." And another: "I am posting this to save anyone who may be considering going to the Easter Egg Hunt at _______ Park next year." And this: "....many parents were SCREAMING at both their kids and other kids to get more, get away from my son, etc." This one: "The parents jumped the fence before the whistle or shoved their kids in before the whistle." How about: "They should not allow parents to participate. It's awful, one woman grabbed an egg right out from under my 2 year old's hand, literally." Also: "They announced no fewer than three times that parents were not allowed inside the egg hunting area, but that didn't stop about a dozen parents from going in there and scooping up loads of eggs for their kids. My daughter got one egg."
What the heck?
These hunts all were held in fairly affluent areas where large numbers of attorneys, Hollywood executives and various and sundry captains of industry reside. All pulling up in their Range Rovers and Volvo SUVs to get cutthroat over some cheap plastic eggs at a city park.
I'm sure I saw many of them the next day at brunch at the Bel Air Country Club. I've thought about what was really going on. Helicopter parenting? Parents who want to help their kids succeed? A loss of perspective? Making sure your kid isn't "cheated"? Parents who forgot to take their meds that morning? Behavior that seems to be as far from Christian as I can imagine on one of the most Holy Days.
Here is my concern: The economy is in worse shape this Easter. People are on edge and losing things like money, portfolio value, jobs and homes. Wouldn't that lead one to presume this weekend's Easter egg hunts will take on the air of an Olympic event? Baskets tightly clenched. Parents squatting down with toddlers discussing game time strategy. "Aidan, you go deep and wide grabbing what you can. I’ll circle by the bounce house with Isabella and then pass the basket off to your mother. Then we'll see what we can fit into our pockets and arms."
I'm all for competition. I first and foremost consider myself a capitalist. Most of all, I do not believe everyone deserves a trophy at the end of the season. However, I draw the line on Easter Egg Hunts for the under-7 crowd. If everyone has a quota, say 20 eggs, then you just go around counting the eggs you pick up CALMLY and you are done. It's a family holiday for crying out loud! I hope that this Easter we can all set some good examples for our kids regardless of the activity or location. But, especially at the Easter Egg Hunt at ________ Park.
An original post for the Los Angeles Moms Blog.
When Elizabeth Peterson is not analyzing the ghosts of holidays past, she can be found over at her personal blog Traded my BMW for a Minivan.
Comments (Original comments from the LA Moms Blog post)
April McCaffery said...
We're skipping Easter altogether this year. Holidays are less fun and more drama every year. I'm over it.
We aren't big on the commercial aspects of holidays. But we just today talked about going to a local Easter egg event that has a time slot for the under age 2 crowd. Now I wonder if I need to be worried? My kids can't even walk yet. Is it worth going?
my 4 year old twin boys were in a hunt today, both of whom are quite independent, and one son got one egg, the other got none (though the organizers were nice enough to give my son that didn't get any one). And, one of our friend's daughters who is quite aggressive also did not get any. Needless to say, there were tons of kids with 6-8 eggs in their baskets. But, we followed the rules, and we watched repeatedly as the parents did exactly what you describe. And, there were a lot of kids that were much older older than the 3-4 they were supposed to be.. Before I had coached the boys -- I told them that once they got two eggs, they were to stop. But, once I realized what was happening, I tried to give them a hint about where to go, but oh well.
The Stiletto Mom said...
I wish I could tell you I was shocked to read this but I'm not. We have a lot of competitive parents like that in my neighborhood and I also often wonder if they've lost their minds. One of these days, I'm going to be smart and remember to bring my Flip video to some of the events where the seem to go the craziest just for fun...and possibly blog fodder.
Lucia Davies said...
Stiletto Mom - I wish you would make a video. If these scheming, entitlement-issued "parents" could only see how obnoxious they are - and how they're teaching their kids to push, shove, step on and otherwise back stab others in their "in it to win it" attitude, maybe they'd chill out and behave like decent people. Sadly, though, I doubt it. I hate to paint with the generalization brush - but part of the reason I left L.A. is because I came across this kind of behavior again and again. There are plenty of great people in L.A., but it seems more and more that the asshats are taking over...
Elizabeth, I totally agree with you on the egg hunt nuttiness. Where's the perspective? Last year we spent Easter in Palm Springs, and lucked into one of those over-the-top gala resort Easters with bunny parachuting from plane (I kid you not), egg hunt (and grabby kids/adults), a little animal pen, etc. We just wanted a getaway and didn't realize some hotel chains set up these extravaganzas. Kid had a blast but it was shocking how **grownups** were grabbing cheap plastic eggs away from other people's children. We decided not to go back this year.
Instead, we did something much more low-key, spending it with grandparents at their place, and kid hasn't even mentioned his Easter basket yet. (He'll get a chocolate bunny, no worries.)
I'm not Christian but even I can see this holiday isn't supposed to be like the tv show "Survivor" to see who's most ruthless and acquisitive.
Yikes. I agree with the poster above, a video of this would be hilarious! We tend to avoid the mass egg hunts and stick to small family/friend gatherings so I've never seen this sort of behavior here, though I can certainly imagine.
I couldn't agree more having just experienced a similar egg hunt at a Florida resort. Shocking to me the toddlers with baskets full of eggs while scads of "big" kids found just one or two. I've never understood why people see raising kids as a competitive sport.