#269 In which our hero’s children pose with a giant anthropomorphic rabbit.
Let me tell you about Easter. Yeah, not exactly timely, I know. But worth it. Stick with me.
The in-laws came up for Easter. It’s an eight hour drive from Maryland for them so, to make it worth their while, then generally stay for a week or so. For the most part I like my in-laws, so that’s not a big deal. But sometimes, after a week, it starts to get old, y’know? Mostly because they mess up the carefully orchestrated routine we have in the house. And this sometimes leads to no nap on the weekends, which is just not acceptable.
Anyway, by the time Easter rolled around, they had already been here for five days, so I was getting a little on edge. That Saturday was a jam-packed day: swimming lessons, Easter egg hunt at the church, going out for dinner… it promised to be a busy day. And potentially a nap-free day which, again, is just no good.
So we load up the entire family (in-laws included) and head out for swimming lessons. A little about that first.
We signed up Lily for introductory swimming lessons. The class is for five- and six-year-olds. Macey, who is four, was obviously too young. There was a class for younger kids, but it was full-up when we scheduled. Being that we think it’s important for our kids to learn to swim, we went ahead and signed-up Lily, thinking that Macey would catch up the next year.
I wasn’t in town for the first class, so The Scientist took both girls. Lily’s class isn’t parents in the water, so my wife stayed by the side of the pool with Macey and watched. Long story short: when Macey figured out that she wasn’t getting into the water, she had a huge fucking meltdown. This lasted, apparently, for the entire duration of the class (45 minutes) and well into the ride home.
A helpful employee of the pool saw this happening, and offered to let Macey into the littler kid class, even though it was full. So, my wife explained to Macey that NEXT TIME, she can get into the pool, too. This did little to stem the flow of tears, from what I’m told.
Flash-forward one week.
The entire family (in-laws included) shows up at the pool, only to be greeted by a group of parents and kids standing outside a locked door. It turns out that the powers that be decided to cancel lessons over the Easter weekend and not bother to tell anyone. Macey, as you can imagine, was NOT pleased by the news that she would have to wait another week to get into the pool. It’s worth nothing that she wasn’t nearly as displeased as The Scientist, who was ready to tear someone’s head off.
We go back home, kill a little bit of time, then head off to the Easter egg hunt at our church. We did this last year, and it was about an hour of crafts which were met with poor to middling enthusiasm from the girls, followed 15 minutes of Bible lessons, follow by 15 minutes of screaming, running around looking for plastic eggs filled with candy. The last part, as you might imagine, was the best received.
The entire family (in-laws included) show up to the church, and it’s strangely quiet and empty. We ask a fellow parishioner who happens to be there and she says, “Oh, the Easter egg hunt was cancelled. No-one told you?” This is mostly our fault, being that we’ve been more than a little lackadaisical about our church attendance in the last, oh, year, and we hadn’t bothered to add the girls names to the sign-up sheet, assuming that two more among the droves that would be there wouldn’t make any difference.
So, for the second time in one day, the activity that our girls were really looking forward to was cancelled. They’re grumpy, my father-in-law is grumpy, and I’m maybe the grumpiest of all. I don’t like to see my kids disappointed, which sucks, and I didn’t get my nap, which sucks ever harder.
The Scientist and I do a quick huddle to figure out what to do next. We both feel like we owe the girls some sort of entertainment; to just slink home and plop them in front of the TV seems like a cop-out.
I suddenly remember that I saw the Easter Bunny at the mall last time I was there. So we pack up the entire family (in-laws included) and head off to the mall.
When we get there, there’s no Easter Bunny.
Thankfully, he’s just on a break. We have 15 minutes to kill, so we wonder around the food court, get a pretzel, buy The Scientist some underwear at Victoria’s Secret, and head back.
When we get back to the photo area, suddenly there’s a line of 20 people. My comment at seeing this was something akin to, “Oh, fuck me!” But we get in the line. And wait. And wait. And wait. You wouldn’t think it would take so long to sit a couple kids on a guy in a bunny suit and click a photo. But it is taking a long time. The kids are restless and bored. The in-laws have bailed on us and are resting on a bench away from the madness. I’m just about at the end of my rope.
But then something happens which turns everything around.
There are two families in front of use, each with two little kids. The first family gets up there and the older kid sits down next to the bunny, no problem. But the other kid wants nothing to do with it. He’s got that three-year-old version of “no fucking way” written all over his face. He literally digs in his heels and his father ends up dragging him beside the Easter Bunny. And this kid is howling the entire time.
Now, it probably makes me a very bad person, but I find this incredibly funny. I mean, I sympathize with the parents; like us, they’ve waited a half hour or so, and now their kid is blowing up. Finally they station this screaming, tear-streaked kid on the opposite side of the bunny and say, “Just take the picture. Just do it.”
This is absolutely the best part of all, because they’ll have that photo to embarrass the kid with for the rest of his life. Priceless.
So the next family gets up there, and it’s the same deal. The old brother hops up, no problem, but his brother is screaming protests the entire time. His parents try to talk him down, but he’s not having it. At one point, the older brother looks at us and shrugs his shoulders as if to say, “whatya gotta do?”
They also receive future photographic blackmail.
Then I start to fret a bit that MY kids are going to freak out (making it 3 for 3). But they don’t, they’re total professionals.
Oh yeah. Thumbs up for the Easter Bunny.