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Mommy Musings Surviving The Holidays
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I can hardly believe it's over ... the long drawn out holiday season, which began last October, has finally come to an end. While I'll be the first to say it ended a little prematurely - with Easter on March 23 this year - nonetheless it is now over.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around why Easter was not in April and I know it has something to do with a calendar other than the one we observe. Let me be the first to say, St. Patrick's Day and Easter less than one week apart just about killed me. Switching gears from the wearing of the green and leprechaun tales, to egg coloring and Easter Bunny build up made for one whirlwind week around the Hammond House.

By Saturday's Egg Hunt hosted by Oakdale Parks and Rec, my son's head was not just ready to explode ... it did explode. As he hunted carefully around center field of Field Two at Kerr Park the happiness came to a screeching halt. He just wanted to find two eggs and being the passive kid that he is, it just was not in the cards.

It all began that Saturday morning as we ate breakfast and discussed our plans for the day. "How many eggs are you going to find?" I asked our pre-schooler. "Two," he responded matter-of-factly. A bit caught off guard, I thought perhaps he is more like me than I realize - a realist and not greedy. Well, I thought, that is a good realistic goal that he will certainly be able to achieve.

We arrived at the Egg Hunt with plenty of time for sister to find a few eggs with brother's help in the 0-2 category. We would soon realize, this was more his pace than his grouping of 3- to 5-year-olds.

While I stood in center field, awaiting the newspaper photo op, my son waited patiently on the other side of the chain link fence with the rest of his age group. It truly was a sight, hundreds of pint size egg hunters, baskets in hand, ready to bust down the gate.

Shortly before their release, organizers would allow children only to line up along the first base line and wait patiently for the countdown. As they counted down from 10 to 1 my son sat patiently in his element. Structure and instruction work for him; he is just one of those kids. As they turned them loose at 'one,' for our son it was the beginning of the end.

This was his first large egg hunt and the concept of running to beat the other kids to the eggs was one he just did not seem to grasp.

As I ran around the field searching for the perfect pic, my son continued to search for his two eggs. With each egg he would target, another little hand seemed to get there first. Eventually I looked up and there he was, the one kid crying in center field because his bucket only held one egg.

As volunteers surrounded him offering him alternatives, his pride got the best of him. He did not want anyone to show him where the eggs were. Nor did he want anyone to give him an egg. He wanted to find his two eggs - on his own.

With each offer of help, the crying escalated, eventually to the point of ungracious brattiness. And that, my friends, is where we have to draw the line.

After much coaching and encouragement, I soon realized he was gone. We were now in meltdown territory and no one should have to experience that other than the child's mother and father.

As I scooped him up to take him off the field, he kicked and screamed, "I want two eggs." Now, of course my heart breaks for the fact that he was unable to fulfill this simple goal. At the time, there was not sympathy, but embarrassment. Who was this kid? I had never seen such behavior from our child. Now, reflecting back, it was a great experience for both of us.

He has learned that there are consequences for his actions and I have learned that even my son has his moments.

I'm sure the seasoned parent is reading this with a Cheshire cat-sized smile on their face. Thoughts of 'oh she has no idea,' are probably a plenty among our readers right about now. To that I can only say - you are absolutely right. It would seem I have learned a lot this holiday season.

Halloween is a day when naps are mandatory. Thanksgiving is a day they must be required to join the family for the entire meal. Christmas is more about the songs and the mystery of the Jolly old man in the red suit. Valentine's Day is about red construction paper that makes beautiful hearts. St. Patrick's Day is about the shamrock, the leprechaun and the rainbow. And of course Easter is about setting realistic goals and trying to obtain them.

Until next year's holiday lessons ... Happy Spring.

Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.