It’s Sunday in April. The kids are hopped up on jelly beans and Skittles. My fingers are blue from egg dye. Through the house wafts the smell of ham. My head is pounding with the intensity of a jackhammer in New York City.
Ah, it’s Easter.
But not just Easter for us mind you. Oh, no. It is the Easter following a spring break a long, long spring break where our plans were canceled, and I thus had the job... no, the honor of staying home with my kids for 240 hours in a row. Within the first 24 hours, I realized that we were going to have to move up my youngest’s birthday party to, well, yesterday.
Here’s the past 48 hours.
Friday evening: Make crafts for Saturday’s party, make birthday dinner, eat birthday dinner, sneak out of birthday dinner to wrap birthday presents, give birthday presents at family birthday party, put kids to bed, make more crafts for birthday party, go to bed.
Saturday: Go to work, catch up on week’s worth of emails and new books, sit through children’s puppet show, drive home, tidy house, welcome eight first graders, craft, craft, break, craft, craft, PIZZA, cake, presents, bye-bye, crash, “Aren’t you kids asleep yet?” prepare baskets and eggs, hide eggs outside, go to bed.
Sunday: “Can we wake up now?” find baskets, find eggs, play marbles, dye eggs, DO TAXES, write this entry.
So, today I was going to write another in my series of child abuse prevention ideas for everyone, but the most I can manage is sharing something that has been useful to me as a parent, but also in supervising medium to large groups of small to smallest children.
Hesitation to children is like blood in the water to sharks. Children can sense your weakness and if you aren’t firm not mean they will keep pushing you to see if there is any wiggle room. If a child asks, “Can I have another piece of cake?” your answer can be, “No, one is enough.” You don’t have to apologize or overly explain how too many sweets will make them hyper or too fat. If the child says, “I want to go swing now.” You can say, “We’re not doing that now. But we will after the presents are opened.” Whether it is your kid, your kid’s friend, your niece, nephew, or neighbor, it’s all right to be the grown-up. But don’t miss the opportunity to dye the Easter eggs with them later.