Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Eggs and Toddlers

Pinterest, and my lack of craftiness failed me again.

I got overconfident.

I tried to dye Easter Eggs with two toddlers.

Won't be repeating that for a while.  

Many of you read my posts, and comment,

"Wow, that looks like so much fun!" and

"What a cool idea!" or

"You do so much awesome stuff with the girls!"

And people do ask,

"How do you keep it so neat?"

The answer there is that we don't.  Most of the time, there's clean up time involved.  But, most of the time, it's not a big deal. Five minutes of set up, playtime as long as they're interested, and usually five minutes of clean up.

Rainbow rice?  Dustpan and broom and a quick hand vacuum.

Indoor snow? Dump it out, wipe with the towel, maybe a little spray of the table.

Painting? Hand wash, brush wash, wipe up any drips, move the easel back into the dining room.

We also do these things often enough now where they basically know the guidelines. I lay down an old tablecloth, and they know to keep the mess on the tablecloth. Does the mess sort of migrate off? Of course. They're little.  But we've never had a situation where I was in a panic that they were going to dye my house pastel colors until yesterday. 

This is Madison's third Easter, and she hasn't gotten to dye eggs yet. She was 8 months old for her first Easter, and we were in the very early stages of her neutropenia diagnosis. She didn't care, and I wasn't in the right mindset.  Last year, Reagan was only a few weeks old, and I was adjusting to two babies (and Madison still didn't care).

But this year Madison has been reading her Easter books, and watching some shows with Easter themes, and she knows that painted eggs are always a highlight.  In art group a week ago, we marbled eggs, using shaving cream and liquid watercolors.

I think art group is what did it. I was planning on using either one of the little kits that people have been giving us, or maybe using KoolAid. But marbling eggs was so easy! It was so neat! The kids loved it, the eggs looked really cool, and clean up wasn't bad at all!

So yesterday, Good Friday, when it was just me and the girls home by ourselves, I got cocky. We would color two dozen eggs! Some traditionally, and some marbled!  There were some really cute egg ideas on Pinterest!

I had a plan. While the girls napped, I got everything set up for them. I laid out the tablecloth. I prepared the cups of dye. I "hardboiled" the eggs in the oven (which is my new favorite trick) and cooled them in a bowl of water. I got everything set to marble, with shaving cream and liquid watercolor.  I had my camera ready to go so I could take pictures. The girls woke up, and had their snack, and then they noticed the magic that was in the kitchen! They were so excited!

Then all hell broke loose.

I am outnumbered by the girls in situations like this and I quickly lost control. One of them distracts me with some sort of mess and while I'm stopping that one, the other starts doing something.

Within five minutes:
  •  Reagan had picked up four eggs and thrown them into the tile floor.
  • Madison opened a bottle of the watercolors and started squirting it into the shaving cream.
  • Reagan began trying to put the eggs, which had been dipped in vinegar, into her mouth, and bit down on them.
  • Madison, while trying to see the dye, began spilling it out onto the floor.
  • Reagan took the egg in the wire whisk and whipped it into the floor, playing drums.
  • Madison, in an effort to help, began taking bowls of shaving cream and flipping them over (when I asked "what are you doing?????" she replied, bewildered "keeping them safe from Reagan").
Within ten minutes we were all covered in egg dye and liquid watercolor. Shaving cream was everywhere. The kitchen stank of egg. Eight eggs (and maybe more) were cracked, bitten, or smashed.  Reagan was screaming because I kept grabbing her as she went to throw another bowl or smash an egg. She didn't understand why I wasn't just letting her play. Madison was taking advantage of this by taking eggs from cup to cup of dye and then rolling them in shaving cream.

It was a smelly, sticky, colorful, disgusting mess. Not a fun mess.

This is actually somewhat cleaned up.

At that point I snapped, washed their hands, and banished them from the kitchen.

Seriously, I banished them. I tried to make it sound like I didn't snap. I cheerily asked who wanted a snack and a show, and herded them into the family room.  Unfortunately, there is no division between our kitchen and family room. It's basically one giant room with tile in the kitchen and carpet in the family room.

So I took the kitchen chairs and blocked off all access to the kitchen. They didn't notice at first.

But then they did.

And they were really displeased.

I kept them banished until I could get everything off the floor and out of reach.

Ideally, I would have cleaned up the kitchen before letting them back in. But Madison was crying that she wanted to keep painting eggs, and Reagan was crying that I was out of reach.  Even after I let them back in, they were upset for the rest of the afternoon.  And I was so frazzled that I forgot all about cooking dinner. Thankfully, when I texted Adam, he sensed the tone and brought home takeout.

Note: This is probably because I texted him "I quit. Everyone is crying. The kitchen is a disaster. Oh, and I forgot to cook dinner."

So clearly, a roaring success. We have cracked eggs that are smeared with fingerprints, and even those that were dyed traditionally stink of shaving cream.

Oh, and did you know that you actually can't eat the eggs you marble? Because I didn't. I saw the directions and didn't bother to look into it any more. But yeah, eggs are porous, and shaving cream is soap. So while they won't hurt you, they will taste like soap. Yum!

So it was an epic fail. A disaster zone in the kitchen, two crying children, a frazzled mom, useless eggs. I was so frustrated that I ate the takeout and went to the grocery store, then ignored the mess and took a bath with a glass of wine.  Oh, and remember how we have 25 people coming tomorrow? Yeah, probably shouldn't have lost a productive night like that.

Here's the thing though. This didn't have to be a disaster.

If Adam had been home, and we all dyed eggs together, we probably would have been fine. Man to man defense works well.

If I had been dying eggs with Madison alone, she could have easily done this, and she would have been fine.

If I had been dying eggs with Reagan alone, I would have tempered my expectations, and she would have been fine.

If I had waited until the girls were a little older, where both of them can follow directions, it may have been messy, but it would have been fine.  Honestly, I really don't think they would have noticed.

If I had strapped them into their booster seats and limited what they could touch, giving them little bits of involvement at a time, it would have been fine.

So basically, even though I planned things out, I didn't think things through.

Thankfully, today we had a fun filled Easter activity day, and the Easter bunny is all set for tomorrow, so although it was a hellish experience, it won't be what they remember. And the house is sort of clean now. If I can trick the girls into napping right after church, we should be all set.

Just don't eat the eggs.

Happy Easter everyone!

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