Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Grinch Who Stole Easter

Easter certainly was a different experience for us this year. When the day began, Jennifer and I were full of excitement, looking forward to Kyle's reaction to his basket, which the Easter Bunny had placed in the living room. By the end of the day, we were in that very same living room, tattered shells of our former selves, struggling to stay awake through the season's first major league baseball game. The rug was covered with Easter grass and plastic eggs that were once confined to the now-empty basket, along with several locks of hair that were once attached to our skulls. Inside the room at the far end of the apartment was our beautiful child, who was sleeping peacefully after screaming through his bedtime stories. I guess you could say the day did not go as well as we had hoped it would.

Last year we had it easy. Kyle's first Easter basket was simple. It has no Easter grass, and no candy. It merely contained a few toys, plastic eggs, and jars of pureed vegetables. Back then, nothing expressed love more to Kyle than a container of mashed green beans.

At church last year, Kyle did not cause much of a stir, except to flirt with the nuns, and he slept through most of the brunch we had with a couple of our friends afterwards. If I remember right, when we came home he slept a little more, smiled when we posed for pictures, and did nothing else but hug us and make adorable little baby sounds for the rest of the night.

This Easter, Kyle was possessed by demons. He fought with us much of the day, and he cried angrily whenever he didn't get what he wanted, which is often nearly impossible to figure out. He screamed through much of our time at church, though that wasn't as bad as it could have been, since we've been starting to visit a local parish that has a toddler-friendly Mass. There were about 80 or so children there on Easter, with most of them running, jumping, screaming, or crying throughout the service. It was like the chimpanzee exhibit at the zoo, but with Bible readings. Afterwards we went downstairs to the church hall, where there was even more running and jumping, plus an Easter Bunny who handed each kid a bag full of colorful choking hazards. Kyle at least enjoyed that part.

The demons took a break for brunch, as we filled our son's stomach with enough food to keep himself satisfied, and ourselves with enough coffee to get through the rest of the day (the mimosas included with the brunch also helped). The peace ended shortly afterwards, when Kyle refused to take his afternoon nap, cried whenever we did not identify every car or flag he pointed at, and then, at the end, screamed as Jennifer tried to read him stories before putting him down for bed. He also kicked a few orphaned puppies and vandalized a library. It was an unnaturally difficult day with Kyle, and we were at a loss as to what could have caused it.

There was, however, an element present at this Easter that was absent last year: chocolate. Yes, the Easter Bunny chose not to continue our child on the healthy eating path it forged last year, and instead caved to the pressures of the corporations that have long funded his ventures, namely Hershey and Palmer Chocolates. I cannot say for certain that chocolates caused Kyle to become especially difficult, since some of his unruly behavior happened before he consumed any. Still, just the knowledge that there was easily-accessible candy in the home could have sent him over the edge. I will have to research this, of course, by showing him a piece of chocolate and, regrettably, consuming some myself. If there's a change in behavior, then I'll know for sure what caused it. Otherwise, we'll just blame this on the terrible twos, and continue counting the days until he turns three.

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