I come from a House of Hunters.
I was raised with stories of Easters of Ages Past, being Chronicles of Eggs Found by the Celebrated Hunters of my father’s family.
When we gathered our baskets, we had to learn to pursue the furtive eggs hidden by my cousin, the eldest of our generation, who used Tools. We had to look underneath the mailbox, in case an egg had been taped there. We had to look into drain pipes, in case an egg had been rolled down into it with a grapefruit harvester. We had to look in, under, on top of.
We had to consider the wiles of my aunt, who is famed far and wide for her years of persevering eyes. She was the one who once found one more egg than had been hidden. My aunt was the one who once found the Prize Egg* in the pot of beans cooking on the stove—and she was the third one who had looked. She was the one who was banned for five years from finding the Prize Egg—unless, of course, nobody else could find it.
We had to, in a word, hunt for eggs.
Now children whine that they “can’t find” any eggs.
What is WRONG with this generation?
O tempora! O mores!
It’s our generation’s fault, I suppose. We’ve created an egg-hunting world that rewards the lazy and overwhelms the incompetent.
Primarily, we don’t train the young ones up in the games and skills of hunting. We don’t provide enough “enviromental enrichment” to kids—we don’t challenge them enough to use their brains to get what they want. We give in. We “hide” the eggs on the lawn. Seriously. The. Lawn.
Secondarily, we let them give up. We give them too many hints too soon. We start looking on their behalf (because, let’s face it, we’ve forgotten where we’ve hidden them).
And tertiar…ily, we overwhelm them with eggs. We hide too many to provide a sustainable return on investment. How many eggs can one find? Yesterday each kid got twenty one. (That’s a lot of chickens laying. Or Easter Bunnies, depending on your preferred traditional egg provider.**) Even if there is *gasp!* chocolate in the eggs, after twenty even adults get bored. And so then you have to fight with the kids to keep looking, and the more tired they are, the less likely they are to actually hunt.
So here comes a famous set of RULES FOR WHEN I HAVE KIDS:
1. Every child will find 12 eggs. No more. No less.
2. No child will be able to keep any of their eggs or the loot found therein unless they find all twelve eggs.
3. Eggs will be HIDDEN corresponding to prepositions: e.g. under, in, beneath, on top of, etc.
4. The only hints to be allowed will be given as prepositions, and only given once a full twenty minutes has passed. “Hot and Cold” shall only be used for very young children and for the last few eggs. No hints shall be given for the Prize Egg.
5. There will be a Prize Egg. If the Prize Egg is not found in the given time, no prize will be awarded, and the location shall be kept secret.
*Every year one Prize Egg was hidden by the Grand Master of egg hunts, my Grandma Nelda. If you found the egg, you got 1) the honor of finding the egg, and 2) a prize! Although, to be honest, I don’t remember ever hearing what the prize was. That’s how venerated it is. The last Prize Egg to be hidden was eventually found underneath my uncle’s hat—on his head.
**The Tooth Fairy is happy to report that she has nothing to do with eggs, colored or otherwise.