Zoe vs. the Easter Bunny

The Batman and the Joker. Rocky and Apollo Creed. Dora and Swiper. To this list of well-known adversaries, we can now add Zoe and the Easter Bunny.
 
They met on a grassy field of battle. Strewn with the pastel remnants of plastic eggs.
 
Only one could triumph. 
 
If you defined triumph as throwing a fit then getting sleepy. In that case, Zoe triumphed all over the place.
 

 
This year's theme was The Hunger Games.

Technically, this was Zoe's first Easter egg hunt. We'd gone the year before, when Zoe was two and a half, but the line was too long and she wasn't having it so we quickly left.
 
This year, as soon as the words "Hey, Zoe, want to go on an Easter egg hunt?" were out of my mouth I wanted to take them back. Images from last year of hordes of children waiting as a man in a giant bunny suit patrolled the line were emblazoned on my mind.
 
So why did I say them? Well, I sometimes say the first thing to pop into my head if I need to distract Zoe from some activity that's killing me, and in this case it was Zoe's request to see Elsa singing "Let It Go," on my phone, again, and next to my phone happened to be a flyer advertising the egg hunt.
 
Afterwards I was able to use the hunt to keep her in line. E.g.: "If you don't stop whining, we're not going on the Easter egg hunt" or "If you don't eat your lunch, you're not going on the Easter egg hunt."
 
Amidst nearly constant threats we got her dressed, then foolishly let her choose which of the millions of baskets she'd already amassed in her short life she wanted to take with her.

 
Christ died for all us peeps. 
So that we could do silly things with peeps.

I keep reading articles that say giving your toddler a choice in some minor matter is good because it gives them some control, but all it ever does is fill Zoe with road-not-traveled angst. Zoe's emotional seesawing over which basket she should take before deciding on the purple one with the green and pink stripes was hard to witness. And Sophie thought she had a tough choice. 
 
We arrived at the park just as the first "wave" of egg hunters were released into the playground/battleground. Then we got a load of the line, which snaked around and around this search area. We knew we'd have to keep Zoe occupied if she and we were to survive the wait.
 
Thinking quickly, the Husband offered to buy her one of those balloons-on-a-stick. Her choice, oddly made without fuss---this is important---was a Superman one, filling the Husband with pride, though she called him Spider-Man, which mitigated it somewhat.
 
We continued to the end of the line, where Zoe immediately weaponized the balloon. She claimed to be using the stick as a magic wand, but in practice this meant waving it around so that the pointy end was almost hitting people. When I threatened to take it away, for a little while she occupied herself forcing Superman to dance and then dragging him face-down in the dirt, but soon she returned to magic wand/sword mode.
 
The signs were there. Mothers are ever alert to them. Whiny, unreasonable, frequent eye-rubbing. It was then I spotted the giant bunny. More accurately, and chillingly, a man in a bunny suit. And he was approaching us.
 
Ever see Donnie Darko? Remember Frank? The demonic man-sized bunny who appears to Donnie Darko freaking him out by talking about the end of the world?

The only difference is I'll
eat your ears last.

Anyway, that's what I think of when I see men in bunny suits.
 
As he came closer I fear-hoped Zoe would stab him with her balloon stick wand sword toy but instead she went very still, the kind of still she'd gone just before she'd lost it at Macy's Santaland. Soon the line would bring us within his creepy sphere. Then what would happen?
 
Well, that crisis had to get in line, because we had to pass the balloon vendor again. And as we did, Zoe noticed he also had Dora balloons on a stick, which apparently she hadn't noticed earlier, or did but now had buyer's remorse and didn't want the Superman-that-she-thought-was-Spider-Man balloon anymore.
 
"I want Dora!"
 
No, we said. We'd already bought her a balloon and we weren't buying another one.
 
Rinse, repeat, then . . .
 
Meltdown.
 
Ineffable sadness.
 
The regret you feel when you eat the whole thing and drink something on a dare combined with hitting "Reply All" too soon. Meryl Streep could've taken lessons on how to cry.

Maybe somehing.

I carried her off into the grass expounding upon that hardest lesson of life: you can't always get what you want. More tears. More "I want Dora!" The Bunny Man was now watching. I looked away, fearing his eerie silent communication.
 
Meanwhile, the Husband, once again the hero, had exchanged the Superman for a Dora. "Look, Z, Daddy was able to get you Dora."
 
She stopped crying and ran over to get her Dora balloon from Daddy. Alas, the drama train was unable to come to a complete stop.
 
She began yawn-crying and insisted I carry her while using her new Dora balloon stick to poke me in the head. 
 
We were next to the DJ now and he was blasting some familiar song. For the past few years, my radio-listening had been limited to what blared from the open windows of cars as I walked Zoe home from day care. It was one such song, sans Doppler effect. And as I balanced Zoe on my hip, and she laid her soggy snot-ridden tired head on my shoulder, in order to keep her awake, I danced to music I hated.
 
Self-assessment: My yoga pants were covered in cat hair, the sun was burning the half my chest not covered in toddler, and to keep said toddler awake I was shaking my groove thing to a song by some former Disney star now turned twerk-sation. Was this what had become of me? Where was the girl who used to go to clubs and sway apathetically to The Smiths and The Cure?

Whatevs, Morrissey.

When we finally made it inside the barrier, we had to wake Zoe. She perked up a bit at all the people running around but overall she didn't get it. The Husband again came through, though, collecting her five allotted eggs (five was the limit) and getting us on to the next line where she could choose her prize, an Easter lollipop shaped like either a bunny or an egg.
 
Either one.
 
Her choice.
 
Inside I screamed.
 
I need not have feared. I don't know if it was nature or nurture but she looked at the bunny lollipop with revulsion and chose the egg one. I ripped the plastic covering off the lollipop with my teeth and got it in her mouth before anything more could happen. The Bunny Man was loitering by the exit but I hurried past, blocking her view.
 
See you in my nightmares, freak!
 

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