The Pit-A-Pit-A-Pat Of Easter
That was Cody. Cody is 2. Cody was zooming from the front room through the middle room and into the kitchen.
Yep. This was Cody again, this time zooming from the kitchen through the middle room and into the front room of our small house.
In each chubby hand, Cody held a plastic Easter egg, the kind that come apart to allow for a treat, or a coin, to be placed inside by the Easter Bunny.
Easter will not arrive until April 20.
But Cody and his mom, my younger daughter Natalie, arrived last week. So my wife planned a premature Easter, in consultation with the Easter Bunny.
Inside each of the about two dozen colored plastic eggs, the Easter Bunny had carefully placed a single M&M candy piece.
The eggs had been “hidden” by the bunny in age-appropriate places: Atop a table, on the arm of a chair, beside a wall, etc.
At first, Cody wasn’t sure what was expected of him. He needed to be guided to an egg. He picked it up. Cody knows M&Ms. His eyes lit up; his fingers darted out, and then bent mouthward.
The game was on.
I had been skeptical. My experience of Easter had been with hidden Easter baskets, left by the bunny in increasingly age-appropriate degree-of-difficulty hiding places – within the house.
Maryellen’s tradition had been different.
In normal times, her eggs are hidden in tree branches, beneath shrubs, somewhere in our 60-foot by 60-foot barn, a five-minute walk away down into the field.
And she is outwardly such a nice grandmotherly woman!
In deference to Cody’s twoness and the muddy, chilly state of things outdoors, these Easter eggs were hidden in the house.
Once alerted, Cody got the hang of it immediately. This grandchild is comparatively quiet. He doesn’t usually squeal or squawk. Instead, he … well, he mutters. Lips go flippety-flip with barely audible sounds, but nearly constant movement as he seeks and searches.
So, I thought, I could sit at my computer desk in the middle room and crank out the first draft of a column. Finding two dozen eggs could not take more than five minutes, right?
Maryellen knew, as I did not, that 2-year-olds love the hunt itself, and the game itself.
Once all the candies had been ingested, she put the empty eggs back together. A handful was surreptitiously given to the Easter Bunny, who obligingly hid them in the kitchen.
“Cody! There are more in the kitchen!” she said.
He was off and running, returning to the Easter “basket” (a plastic pail suitable for making mud pies, actually) and delightedly dropping the eggs in its vicinity.
By then, Maryellen and the bunny had scooped up another handful and disposed of them.
“Cody! There are more in the front room!”
This is grandchild number 16, so I ought to be used to the pitter-patter of little feet that go up and down 10 times for every foot or so of forward progress.
Cody, however, takes it to an entirely new level. He runs on tiptoe, evoking the 20-years-ago pit-pat of Ian, another grandchild.
But while Ian scooted, Cody whooshes.
The kid has an awesome future as a sprinter.
And he never grew tired.
I would turn toward the keyboard, only to have Cody whoosh past.
Quickly enough, I gave up, sat on a nearby sofa, and enjoyed the frenetic whooshing, accompanied by giggles every time he dropped a recovered handful.
“We used to hide our Easter eggs again and again, just so we could go find them,” my wife said, evoking her childhood.
My own memories are of hidden baskets, nothing more.
As my kids grew into their teenage years, some of those hiding places were memorable, in a devilish sort of way.
Lift up the plastic trash bag inside the kitchen garbage container, insert Easter basket, then reinsert trash bag. I was particularly proud of that one.
For Greg, whose Down syndrome produced a fondness for repetition and routine, each year’s basket reposed inside the clothes dryer.
My best one, I think, was the time I waded into the disaster that is a bedroom of a sleeping 16-year-old, quietly lifted a pile of whatever clothing, candy wrappers, discarded homework, etc., spilled over the foot of his bed, placed the basket, then eased the detritus back down over it.
It took him hours to find his basket, even though it sat within a foot of his bed. That was fun – wasn’t it, Chris?
Easter traditions mutate as children grow, as grandchildren experience the kinder, gentler hiding techniques of mellowed grandparents.
What remains constant, or should, is the laughter associated with the making of those memories.
Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.