First, an admission. I'm not big on Easter baskets and I've never mentioned the mythical Easter bunny to my children, not even to blackmail them into behaving better. A couple of years ago, I forgot to give the children their chocolate Easter bunnies and over a year passed before I removed the stale chocolates and threw them in the trash. No one noticed or remarked.
This year, I prepared ahead of time. I gathered four baskets, suspended small stuffed bunnies in plush eggs from each handle, nestled paper Easter grass into the baskets and place a chocolate bunny and some lollipops in each one. Then I stashed them in the front closet, right behind the vacuum cleaner.
And that's where they remain.
They children never noticed on Sunday--which could be because the younger children had candy from the church Easter egg hunt and one of the twins was ill. Today, two days after Easter, my daughter remembered the chocolate Easter bunny one of the baby's moms gave her. First, I gave her the dismembered bunny head (she nibbled one bite) and later, handed over the whole bunny body which rests in peace on the coffee table, looking like a cadaver picked over by a vulture.
My son noticed and said, "HEY! You didn't give us our chocolate Easter bunnies!" His indignant attitude annoyed me, so I just said, "Huh." And he carried on a little, but I thought, I can't, I won't present Easter baskets now because then she will have two chocolate bunnies and really, now is a bad time. Maybe later. Plus, I won't reward his stinky behavior.
Tomorrow, maybe, I'll get out those baskets, but please, Son, don't ask me again or I'll have to leave them in the closet.
* * *
My daughter has had an uneasy relationship with nap time. When she was a year old, she boycotted nap time for four straight months. Oh, she might doze in my arms while I nursed her, but if I shifted in my chair or placed her in her crib, she screamed as if a swarm of bees flew into her diaper. She'd be awake for twelve hours and sleep for twelve hours.
Then, she napped again. And so it went for some time until she stopped napping again. I began laying down with her on my bed and she'd fall asleep, quite against her will. For a long stretch, I may have napped more than she did, but the day came when she started napping alone again.
Lately, though, she has stopped napping. Sometimes, she falls asleep inadvertently, but mostly, no naps.
I do, however, insist on a quiet time. The rest of the kids take naps and while they do, she lies on my bed and watches PBS. She's allowed to come downstairs when Clifford the Big Red Dog
Today she did not want to abide by our agreement. I had to insist. She shrieked and stomped and snot ran down her darling little face, but I stood firm. In fact, I plopped her into her crib and went downstairs for two minute intervals, returning upstairs to ask, "Do you want to watch The Berenstain Bears
now? And when she'd shout, "I WANT TO GO DOWNSTAIRS!" I'd say, "Do you want to stay in your crib or watch t.v.?" and when she'd scream, "I WANT TO GO DOWNSTAIRS!" again, I'd close the door and return downstairs for two minutes.
This battle of wills lasted approximately twenty minutes, when she decided she did want to watch t.v. after all.
After dinner, I took her to the local park and she frolicked for almost forty-five minutes before I told her it was time to go. She walked to the van, no complaints, then climbed in and passed her car seat and sat in her brother's seat. I pointed out that she needed to sit in her car seat. She refused.
I explained, then exited the van, locked the doors and walked thirty feet away where I sat on a bench for one minute exactly before returning and insisting she sit in her car seat.
I returned to the bench where I watched her pound the van windows and scream like she was being burned alive inside the van.
I waited two minutes, then returned.
At one point, I forced her into her car seat ("You may get into your seat by yourself or I will put you in your seat.") but she unbuckled her belt and stood up, sobbing wildly.
A different parent, the kind who keeps a wooden spoon in her purse, would have beat her scrawny little butt at this point, but I don't spank anymore. I was determined to outlast this thirty-two pound human being. Outwit, outsmart and outlast.
We did this for, oh, about thirty minutes, before she decided she wanted me to hold her. (To that point, all she'd said was, "I WANT TO SIT IN THE OTHER SEAT!") I held her, explained where she needed to sit so we could go home and she agreed.
I put her in her seat, buckled her up and sped home while she worked herself into a lathered frenzy, yelling all the way home, "I WANT TO SIT IN THE OTHER SEAT! MOMMY! I WANT TO SIT IN THE OTHER SEAT!"
When we were within sight of our house, she unbuckled and clambered out of her car seat. Fine. When I parked, she refused to leave the van, so I carried her out. She struggled to get down, so I strode into the house, telling my husband, "She's throwing a fit." She trailed after me, weeping.
I put on her pajamas.
She stopped crying.
We rocked and watched Spongebob together.
And finally, bedtime.
I hope that tomorrow she remembers that she cannot win. I am a formidable foe and I cannot be beat. I am fortified with eleven vitamins and minerals and Diet Coke with Lime. Beware.