The Great Easter Basket Dilemma Of 2017

If you can find the egg, tell Alice that it’s late.

Eleven years ago, almost to the very day, a bundle of joy came into my life.  She was plucked from the bowels of her mother and brought into this world, kicking and screaming.  (To be honest, I am not even sure she was kicking and screaming.)  Because of the cesarean section my ex had to have done, my daughter was quickly placed in my care.  This lead to the first of many comic situation with my daughter, who decided that she was going to attempt to breast feed from her dad.  I knew she might be hungry, I just didn’t realize she would be desperately hungry.  And as much as I wanted to connect with my daughter, I was sure that she wasn’t going to want to have a mouth full of hair with her breast milk.  While my daughter was trying to grab herself a mouth full of shirt (no I did not go topless to surgery), I was having to sit and stare at the monitors beeping off and on, reading my ex’s vital signs.  The situation seemed surreal.  As crazy as it was, being that we seemed to be bouncing back and forth from the hospital during this time, it was a good Friday.  And lo and behold, it just so happened that it was Good Friday.

 

Given that we were in the hospital for Easter, I was going to be in charge of Easter that year.  I suppose I should have been thankful I was not made to hide Easter eggs throughout the hospital.  I just had to go and pick out the perfect Easter baskets.  I want you to notice that this was plural and not singular.  My ex insisted that I needed baskets for her and the baby, regardless of whether or not the baby should be getting Easter candy.  You just do not argue with your pregnant and in pain spouse, not if you hope to sleep in a bed at any time in the next century.  (I suppose if you considered the earth to be your bed, then maybe you would be ok with this arrangement.)  So I went out to create Easter Baskets for my daughter and my spouse.

 

This search led me to a dilemma.  What was I going to put into the Easter baskets for the two of them?  My ex was really big into chocolates and little toys.  Those are things that are easily found at any grocery store.  Even the premade baskets seemed to be stuffed with things that would fall under these two categories.  But for a newborn, what was I going to place into the basket?  I could put chocolates in there, well aware that she was not going to be eating them.  I was fully aware that most of the chocolates would find their way to my ex and not to my little daughter.  So, instead of chocolates, I could search for little toys.  But anyone who has a newborn can attest how few small things do not have the 3+ sign on the top corner of the box.  (I think I counted zero.  Does one even count zero?)  I was going to have to be creative.  Or I was going to have to sit there and give my daughter an Easter Basket that said do not open until 3+.  Given how well I was as not opening gifts that were for me the moment I saw them, let alone presents that were not from me, making my daughter wait three years would have been torture.   So I decided to go with a split between chocolates that would find my way to my ex, and bigger toys that would fit into an Easter basket.

 

Even Oreo gets in on the hunting.

Years went by with me making Easter Baskets that my daughter could actually enjoy, some years with chocolate candies for her.  Divorce interrupted all of that.  Once I separated from my ex, we had a de-facto understanding that I was going to make an Easter Basket ever year, assuring my daughter would get at least two baskets, one from her mother and one from me.  (I’m curious about what other divorced parent’s solutions are about celebrating Easter, if you celebrate it.) This year has to be an extra-special one for my daughter as it just so happens her birthday falls on Good Friday once again.  I guess it is not unlike the people who only get to celebrate their birthday once every four years due to it being on leap day.  Only for my daughter, this rare event is even rarer.  It came eleven years later.  (Eleven seems to be a theme for me, somehow.)

 

Eleven is a period of change for kids, as they move from childhood to adulthood.  And parents are having to adapt to all of the changes that their children go through.  While being forced to adapt, parents begin changing how they treat their children.  Eleven is about the time where parents finally admit to all of the lying that they have been doing, confessing there really is no Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or Leprechauns.  (I’m going to still believe in Cupid because some baby with arrows is going to help me find my true love.  I just know it!!!)  I don’t know whether this is because of laziness, kid’s peers convincing them that these mythical creatures do not exist (except maybe the sandman who keeps all teens asleep in bed past the time they need to get up for school), or kids natural inclination towards discovery pushes them into catching their parents in the act of being the Easter Bunny.  (Not even a full on Easter Bunny costume would convince them of the Easter Bunny’s existence at that point.)

 

Furthermore, divorced parents have greater difficulties.   Unless you have an amazing relationship with your ex, it can be difficult to sit them down and get them to agree with anything you want to do with your child.  You say the sky is blue.  They say it’s green.  There is just no agreeing.  Now try telling that other parent, who still wants to call pancakes “pamcakes,” like she did when she was a child, and wishes that her child still called meatballs “meatbobs,” that at some point it is necessary to sit down with their child to inform them that there is no jolly fat man riding a sleigh with reindeer, one of whom has a lit up nose; or there really isn’t a giant six-foot invisible bunny dropping colorful plastic eggs everywhere with candy, toys, or money inside.  It’s like talking to the wind.  It will be silent; or, when it does answer you, you will be whipped around and carried off to some magical world with evil witches, munchkins and ruby slippers.  Nothing will make sense, unless you have been hitting the prescription drugs too hard; and your hair just won’t be as pretty.

 

I’m smiling . . . now.

But you also don’t want to be the person who is the shmuck with the stupid look on their face when facing your child after they have found out for themselves that you don’t have a white fuzzy tail, or that your white beard is removable.  (I apologize in advance to all jolly fat men with long white beards who are fathers.  Keep on keeping on!)  And you REALLY don’t want to be the person, with the stupid look on their face, after you have heard from your child that your ex told them you have been lying to them the whole time about the Easter Bunny; and, Rudolph is really your best friend Steve, whose nose gets bright red after one too many drinks.  You can just feel that sinking feeling with every word from your child’s mouth.  This sinking feeling gets even more pronounced after they announce to you your supposed “co-parent” told them they never wanted to lie to them.  You had forced them into lying to your child all those years and they feel horrible about it.

 

So I admit, I am in a pretty precarious position.  Either I will come up with the greatest Easter Basket known to man, ducking the ever vigilant eyes of my inquisitive eleven year old, or this will be the most epic failure in the history of all parental Easter Bunnies.  I will have to turn in my parent Easter Bunny union card, number 186315746; and, give up my yellow Easter Bunny suit.  The horror!!!  I will miss that fuzzy cotton tail.  Seriously, I am trying to picture what I am going to do for this Easter and so far no light bulbs have been popping up over my head, unless they are exploding ones that I am ducking from.

 

Despite my fears, I do have one idea how I want to handle this, after one final celebration where we had short men, dressed in green suits, with red beards.  I need to sit down with my child and ask her if she wants to know the truth about any of the holidays.   If she does, I will tell her.  Secondarily, I will inform my daughter’s mother that I would welcome her to be there the day that my daughter finally decides she wants to have that important conversation.  I would tell my co-parent first, but I feel like I have been trying to have this conversation for the last couple of years; and the response has been as welcoming as Vincente Fox is of Donald Trump coming to Mexico.  (BFF’s forever.  You know it!)  I just want my daughter to know that I would not lie to her forever about any issue.  Trust is so important for any parent child relationship.  When that child becomes a teen, that trust is even more important.

 

And as for the Easter Basket dilemma, I have many things to be thankful for.  One, I don’t have to worry about the 3+ on the toys any more.  You have to be grateful for the little things, right? Two, I don’t have to wrap up a basket full of chocolates and make her wait a few years before she eats it.  She can have some right away, even if I want to portion out the rest like I am rationing water in the state of California.  Besides, I may convince her to give some of it away to kids who are less fortunate.  I think this is something I feel like she would feel good about.  And finally, if I screw it up this year, I will not have to worry about another Good Friday and Easter right around her birthday for another eleven years.  I’m thinking she might not believe in the Easter Bunny by then.

 

So what do you think?  I know many of you are grateful you do not have to deal with an ex.  You have a loving spouse or you are a single parent with a former partner whose face should be on a milk carton for how quickly they disappeared.  You do not have to argue with someone about how to handle the big reveal.  Nevertheless, how do you handle dealing with informing your child about the magical creatures from their holidays?  Celebrations and traditions become so important to them from an early age.  What do you do as these celebrations have to change as your children grow older?  Do you inform them or do you let them find out on their own?  And if they already found out about it, how did your kids handle it?

 

In the next couple weeks I hope to do at least one Easter Recipe.  Should be fun doing with my child.  And hopefully it ends up on here, or the cover of Epic Food Fails Magazine.  Fifteen minutes of fame is still fifteen minutes!

 

Until next time.  This is me, signing off again.

 

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life

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65 thoughts on “The Great Easter Basket Dilemma Of 2017

  1. Two comments. The first is that your story about making your first Easter basket reminded me of the year my husband and I decided to make baskets for each other. We didn’t have kids yet, so we each shopped separately, then somehow got them both on the kitchen table at the same time without spoiling any surprises. That is, until we got up the next day. We’d thought of everything … except the fact that, at that time of year, the sun came up directly in line with the sliding glass door in our kitchen and it melted all our little bunnies and chocolate eggs. For us, it provided a good laugh. And a valuable lesson that we took with us into our child-rearing years.

    My second comment is this: Yes, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with an ex. Our boys are grown men now, and lo and behold, their dad and I are still married. We never had “the talk” with them. We kept doing the Santa Claus thing and the Easter Bunny thing until it just naturally came to an end. I don’t remember when that was, because it wasn’t a big deal. Eventually we just stopped doing it. That’s the approach I suggest taking with your daughter.

    Oh, and a word of advice about those Easter egg hunts. If you do them with real eggs, make sure you count how many you start with and how many are found. Otherwise, you could, as we did one year, end up with a very foul smell in your house come July or so ….

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    1. Thanks for the good advice. We enjoy painting the eggs but we don’t put out the real ones thankfully. It would be scary to leave one out. And I can only imagine what my dog would do with it. He likes to hide stuff. I suppose that could happen with my daughter, that she just won’t care any more. I’m actually a lot more worried about Christmas than Easter. Except my daughter wakes up at 5 am Easter morning to look at her basket. Ugh! Lol

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  2. I always just do lots of candy and small toys. Etsy also has some wonderful ideas! It would be difficult dealing with an ex though. I don’t know what that’s like.

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  3. This is such a lovely story about making these things for your daughter! I was never allowed the chocolate as I used to go a bit hyper on the chocolate lol. It’s always good to have those special traditions that we hold on to that bring joy and happiness to loved ones.

    Ellie

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  4. Don’t turn in that Easter Bunny card just yet! As your daughter gets older she may roll her eyes at the holiday fanfare, but deep down she’ll appreciate it. Good luck with the basket this year! Loved the story of her first basket. ❤

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  5. In Finland we never use to do Easter baskets or a hunt, instead we left a bonnet under the bed where the Easter bunny would bring chocolates while you sleep. Im sure your daughter will love whatever she finds in her baskets 🙂

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  6. I really enjoyed reading your post and I laughed out loud when you said 11 years is the time you have to tell your kid that you’ve been lying to them the who time… You have done an awesome job and I’m sure there are many more great things you would do. Great post!

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  7. So great that you’ve kept up with this tradition and let your daughter know how special she is to you. Easter baskets were one of the highlights of my childhood.

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  8. Oh wow, you must have really been looking hard for a perfects basket items a lot 11 years ago! I’m from Finland like Karoliina but in my childhood family parent’s usually hide Easter eggs for children to find. My parents are divorced too and I basically was celebrating with my mom so only one set of Easter eggs to find. Thanks for sharing your Easter traditions and experiences!

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  9. I enjoyed reading this greatly! What a wonderful share and your daughter, I’m sure knows how lucky she is to have such a thoughtful and caring dad who’s gone out of the way to make Easter so special for her! As a divorcee myself, I can appreciate the challenges of co-parenting and planning special occasions, in the end your children do see all the effort & care that’s gone into raising them – which makes it all worth it. Cheers to you & the very best!

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  10. Ahaha, well, that doesnt really qualify as lying but I definitely get the point. I would be more worried about christmas as well 🙂 I can only imagine how challenging co parenting can be, you are doing such a gret job with your daughter! Keep on keeping on :))

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  11. This is such a lovely story! Made me miss my dad so much that I wanted to book the plane tickets right away and go see him tomorrow. Your daughter is lucky to have you! God bless you both 🙂

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  12. First of all, I really think that you are a great dad…so loving and caring, in a way you remind me of my father. Secondly, I would like to wish a Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter. Now let me answer your question…I try to inform my son reading him and letting him being involved in preparations…for example coloring Easter eggs etc.

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    1. That’s cool. I’m sure your boy loves that and loves participating in the holiday with you. Thanks for the good wishes on her Birthday.

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  13. I love the fact tat you put the effort in to make a customised basket full of things your child loves each year. This was such a touching read, I loved every bit of it. Happy early Easter to you and your family (and happy birthday to your daughter!)

    Christie’s Take on Life.  🙂

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  14. What a tough thing to go through as a parent! I am not a parent yet nor do I have kids but I do remember the exact day I found out all the magical creatures weren’t real anymore. I was probably your daughter’s age and I actually took the news pretty well because I sort of had a feeling Santa wasn’t real and that meant the other stuff wasn’t either. I hope you daughter takes the news okay and your ex helps you through the process despite your differences! Best of luck and share with us how it went!

    ~Crissy
    http://www.whimsicalfawn.com

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  15. Thanks for sharing your Easter experiences as a single dad. Reading the blog made me think what I would put in a newborn’s Easter basket and I cam up with rattles, bottles and socks, I wish you all the best. You seem to be doing a great job!

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  16. Oh gosh, I can imagine that this would be really challenging. I feel like even married parents disagree on how to raise a child, so that is probably exacerbated when the parents are separated.
    I think, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters (and I’m speaking from absolutely NO experience here so feel free to write me off) is that your daughter feels loved. By both ends. And not in the competitive “she-did-this-so-I’m-going-to-do-that” way, but genuine love. Which, from the sounds of it, you’re doing in every which way possible.
    You’re a super dad. 🙂

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    1. Thanks! I am really trying. It does get difficult. And you are right. You do have to try and make sure that it’s not a competition. I just take things one day at a time.

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  17. You are a super dad… leading by example. Like they say that devil is in the details and as a father you have to worry about the little details and plan things out in advance to make sure that things happen as you plan them to happen. Things don’t happen on their own because it does require planning. You are doing a fabulous job. Feeling super inspired by you. Thank You 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the compliment. I know it’s just doing my best daily to be an example to my daughter. It’s the best thing I can do.

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      1. I remember my time too when I used to be a softball coach for my daughter’s team for 6 years and my daughter’s personal coach for pitching, hitting, and fielding. I had to learn the game ground up so I could help her on a daily basis. My background growing up was Cricket but Softball is different so I had to learn it all before I could help her. It was so much fun though. I loved every moment of it. Now I miss it that she is grown up and gone to college. But fantastic memories!

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  18. I have an almost 11-year old boy with special needs who still believes in everything so for now at least, I don’t have to think about it. Our 13 year old figured out the whole Santa ruse thanks to other kids at school and once that connection was made there was no question about the other, lesser mythical creatures.

    Enjoy your special day with your daughter – such a great family story and memory to share with her!

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    1. Thanks for the compliment. Yes, Santa Claus is the big one for sure. Much more worried about that given all that we have done to convince my daughter that he exists.

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  19. Your stories are always so funny! I can’t imagine what its like raising a kid after a divorce but you seem to be doing a damn good job. I don’t have kids yet but I have a lot of nieces and nephews and I can relate to not finding a single toy that is safe for under 3 years old. Anyways I know Easter is coming up so good luck with making your daughter’s Easter basket and also planning her Eleven.

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  20. Thank Heavens I happened to be reading this alone, without my seven year old reading over my shoulder – I’d have had to tell her you were a terrible liar (because Santa DOES exist, and so do all his friends), and if Cupid had heard that, you’d have been in trouble, Mister.

    But my oldest still believes in all the magic too, and I’m going to let her. Also, “meatbobs” probably made me laugh a LOT harder than it was meant to – as did the milk carton bit.

    As for my plan for when it comes time to come clean about holiday magic to my daughters? I hope that when it’s time to confess to my oldest, I’ll be able to explain the truth in a way that doesn’t murder the magic – and then I’ll recruit her to help me keep that magic alive for her sister. And then I’ll have had good practice when it’s time to break the news to my youngest. I’ve got a pin I’ve been saving for just the right time, actually.

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    1. Awwww!!! This is cool. We all have things we miss from when our kids were younger I think. I’m surprised you have been able to keep up the Magic to the older one. I know I have to figure out everyone by next weekend. Actually that reminds me I need to get stuff for the Easter basket starting tomorrow before I pick her up from school. Ahhhh!!!! I’m so behind. I just have the one so I really just have the one to worry about. Once the Magic is gone… it’s gone. That does make me sad. But I don’t want her to be upset when the time does come that I hid things from her either. It’s walking a tightrope.

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      1. That’s where my emphasis on the magic comes from. That way, just because they know I’m Santa and the Easter Bunny, etc, it can still be magical even when they know it’s me. We’ll just be working together to create a different kind of magic.

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