She shyly wandered up to the bunny and presented herself for a hug as I stood as far away as I could while still keeping her in view. In fact, as the egg hunt wrapped up, Bean sidled back to that bunny reaching to be lifted into his nap and when I went to lift her down, she turned her face dramatically into his furry bunny chest with a loud "Nooooo"!
I was shocked at her bravery but then again my fear of human puppets surely did not begin at such a young age.
The real fun of the day was watching her hunt eggs, or rather watching all the children hunt eggs. I love people watching and the sights at an Easter egg hunt did not disappoint. For starters, Bean is one year old. She does not eat chocolate or candy so the contents of those eggs are far less important to her than the hunt. Her first hunt was in her Grandfathers back yard and she was the only participant. I watched as she shrieked with glee throwing her hands to her cheeks with a look of surprise at every egg. Since her grandfather "toddler proofed" her eggs, filling them with quarters for her piggy bank and graham cracker bunnies, she sat and opened each egg but the enthusiasm of the hunt was gone.
Her next two hunts occurred with other children, the first with cousins and the second with neighborhood children. It was the second hunt, that I lost focus on the children and began watching the parents. I watched as parents followed their children pulling their arms to direct them to the next egg or running ahead and standing over eggs as they called their children over.
Was I missing the point? Wasn't this hunt for children? I came across a viewpoint in the paper on this exact situation in which parents were quoted saying they helped because they wanted their child to be on an even playing field.
wah?? It's an egg hunt! Why does there need to be an even playing field? Who will be disappointed in finding only one egg in their basket? Bean did find eggs at the neighborhood hunt but she was far more concerned with watching the other kids.
At the end, I emptied the contents of her eggs into her basket and returned the plastic shells to the homeowner. On one end of the patio, a parent had their children counting their eggs to settle the argument over who had "won", I shook my head knowing full well that there was not a single candy that would be given to Bean from her "winnings". When had Easter Egg hunts gotten competitive?
As Daddy carried Bean home, I knew she would never even know she missed out on her many candy treats, (which would be donated to Daddy). For her, the hunt was all about the experience. When she is old enough for it to be about the loot, she will run a little faster as I hopefully drink my coffee on the sidelines feeling no need to "coach" her, unless I see her move in on the unwatched basket of some unsuspecting baby, in which case she will be snatched off the playing field and benched, immediately!