In my early days of parenthood -- before I had begun to fetishize every holiday in the hazy glow of happily "kidded" bliss, I wasn't so eggs-acting in my search for ways to make a holiday special. Take Easter. Lots of religious significance, fun secular traditions. More substance than Thanksgiving without the pressure of Christmas. Count me in. Decorating eggs was enough for me and Teen Spirit. This was before we had succumbed to the elaborately mounted scavenger hunts, egg rolls and "Spring Flings" around town. No, back in the day, Teen Spirit (then Doodle Bug) and I would talk for days about coloring eggs. First, we dug out the Paas generic egg-coloring kit, bought the year before, heavily discounted after the holiday. We mixed up the dye in paper cups and daintily soaked hard-boiled eggs like we were steeping tea. They'd teeter in their cartons and we'd admire them in a basket for a few days. After a few years all that boiling and bobbing seemed a little anticlimactic. I blame Martha Stewart. Because after a few years of perfectly acceptable yet dull eggs, I craved indigo, chartreuse, and golden ochre. I wanted a spectacular display. Again, because of Martha, II tried the natural route first, boiling onion skins and beets in an attempt to conjure up sophisticated hues. Sadly, instead of sophisticated, I got sallow, watery stains that looked more like a compost heap than a holiday basket.
A Crushing Eggs-perience
After that, I didn't even want to hard boil the eggs -- I had taken to blowing the guts out of the center of the uncooked egg. I suppose I fancied myself the keeper of ancient craft tradition. I also wanted a more permanent rememberance of making them with Teen Spirit. I'd start about a month before Easter, pricking little holes in either end of the egg and practically blowing a gasket puffing the innards out. I'd gingerly lather, bleach and rinse each shell, then tuck it into a carton hidden at the top of the fridge. Yes, for years, it never occurred to me to use a straw or syringe -- I was getting light headed from the regular intervals forcing air through that little hole. Like I had been blowing up a beach ball for a month.
He and I carefully applied wax markings to make patterns that would emerge when we colored the background. We slathered little gems and stickers on them. We glued the larger end of each egg to a penny, so they would stand up. We arts-and-crafted the heck out of those shells, stopping just short of pulling a full-on Faberge. We used them as table decorations for Easter dinner, then packaged them up as gifts for out-of-town family.
So you can imagine the happy memories we were hoping to recreate when La Principessa became egg-decorating age. She watched me and Teen Spirit for a few years before it was her turn to try. She tried to warn me that this was less than egg-citing for her, really she did. But I wouldn't listen. We sat down with a pile of shells I had painstaking evacuated, scrubbed and dried. I readied the paints and mini-appliques and searched for the gold glitter pen. As I turned to her to described all the blingy choices laid before her, she ...crunch..crunch..crunch. She was methodically crushing an egg in each hand, the tiny shards falling through her fat fingers like sand in an hourglass. She had made it through about six of them already. I yelled, "Nooo" and made a dive to rescue the survivors. Too late. She replied, "Yes." and finished off the lot, as if to say, "Time for a new tradition, Mom." Eggs-actly.