A Chicago dad’s Easter egg hunt war journal

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood  of Chicago with Professor Foster (his “Brown Mom” wife), and their daughter Viva, who will enter next year’s egg hunts driving a chariot with knives on the wheels.

All is now quiet on the Easter Front, but this weekend was a smashmouth of scrambles for plastic eggs full of corn-syrupy goodness. Chicago might be known primarily for food, corruption and disappointing starts to the baseball season, but looking over the lists of how many organized egg hunts took place in the weeks before Easter, we might be the Egg Hunt Capital of the World. (Makes up for losing our “Hog Butcher” cred.) Between Berger Park, Senn Park, my own yard, and my in-law’s yard, I searched for eggs four times in 48 hours–and I’ve seen things, man.

I have to hand it to the hunts I attended. Last year, both were under-egged, and the “hunts” lasted for about 10 seconds before hopped-up hordes of toddlers raged with disappointment before being scared into submission by terrifying bunny mascots. This year, the parks seemed better prepared. Senn Park had 2,039 numbered eggs! The ground was lousy with them. Even the kids who totally lacked the eye of the tiger went home with a healthy clutch of candy.

Even with the increased number of eggs, though, a canny parent must remember that kids are flailing bundles of unregulated Id. If you tell them a magical lepus filled all the public play lots with plastic shells full of curiously name-brand chocolates and that it was somehow manufactured at the South Pole or wherever the Bunny is said to live, they will not rest until they have as many eggs as they  can carry … and you can carry … and they will drive right over anyone that stands in their way.

As a parent, it it your responsibility, nay, your DUTY, to prepare your child to be competitive on the field of Easter. To be a bad enough dude or dude-ette to defeat the pint-sized Ivan Dragos, Clubber Langs and Sweep-the-Leg Johnnies who would seek to lessen your child’s take of Robin’s Eggs and Reese’s Cups in favor of their own.

Do you want to push your stroller home carrying a crying child with one measly egg holding a stale Tootsie Roll, or do you want to push home a WINNER? One who came, saw, and conquered the close competition for candiest holiday of the year. One who loves the smell of Peeps in the morning.

Because I have seen the enemy, and they are young’uns, I am happy to share my new-found wisdom with you. Here are five tips to help your child so that they may win their war next year:

1. Don’t go for the first egg you see

Those first eggs are for punks. You know in The Hunger Games where all the kids run at the cornucopia of weapons right out of the gate and get decimated? Well, Easter is like The Hunger Games in REAL LIFE, people.

Every Tom, Dick, Harry, Olivia, Haley, Madison, Zoey, Holden, Cade, Finley and Charlotte is going to go for those first eggs, and their little bow legs can barely cover any ground to begin with, especially with those slippery Mary Janes on. Book it to the far end of the park, about face, and start hoovering up as many eggs as your basket (and supplemental backpack) can take.

2. Dropped eggs are fair game

That’s the thing about preschoolers: they’re careless. Imagine that, risking life and limb on the playground to grab an egg, and then letting it roll out of your basket? That’s just sloppy. If someone fumbles an egg, drops it out of their basket, boots it or otherwise loses control THAT IS YOUR EGG NOW.

3. Guard your spoils

Conversely, don’t be foolish with results of your efforts. Knock over your own Easter basket, and the children will set upon it like the Bacchae on Orpheus. You’d be best off to just hand the basket to Mom or Dad. They’re required on a cellular level to defend your well-being.

4. Go for the low hanging fruit (flavored jelly beans)

Stay out of the bushes, stay out of the trees, stay off of the fences. Sure, you’ll LOOK like a serious hunter bushwhacking, defoliating and tunell-ratting all around, but in the time it’ll take you to pull one egg out of the bushes, you miss six on the ground. I believe it was the Cobra Emperor Serpentor, who contained the DNA of histories greatest warriors and tyrants, who once said, “Take the path of least resistance. This I command.”

That dude collected mad Easter eggs.

5. God done gived you elbows for a reason

Throw them.

Those are just five simple tips to keep in mind for your next hunt. And just think about how much taller and tougher your child will be next year! Just hope they are the oldest kids in a young division and not the youngest in an older division–then they’re in trouble.

I leave you with the words of legendary war-time leader Winston Churchill (paraphrased):

“We shall hunt eggs to the end. We shall hunt in the parks; we shall hunt on the lawns and sidewalks; we shall hunt with growing confidence and decreasingly chubby legs for the candy; we shall defend our baskets, however grass-stained our pastel frocks may become. We shall hunt near the swing sets; we shall hunt under the slides; we shall hunt near the water fountains and between the nannies. We shall hunt in the landscaping; we shall never surrender.

If you’ve enjoyed this Parenting Media Association Award Winning blog, subscribe to the WDP podcast (One of Podbean’s 10 most downloaded Parenting Podcasts worldwide and an iTunes staff pick for best Parenting humor) for free on iTunes, or listen at whitedadproblems.com. (Do note that the show has a potty mouth and is definitely for Over 17 Only.)

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