Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter: A study in sugar's effects on small children

Date: March 23, 2008. Easter Sunday

6:45 a.m.—After threatening her not to get up too early (“The Easter Bunny may not have come yet, and then he won’t come at all,” I admonish the night before), Peanut rushes into our room asking, “Did I wait long enough?” Loaf hears this and wakes up too so we all head to the living room to hunt for eggs.

Looking for eggs

The hunt is on!

Examining the loot

7:10 a.m.—Eggs are found, baskets examined and we’re sitting at the kitchen table eating cold, colored eggs and cereal for breakfast. They are already asking for candy.

8:00 a.m.—Breakfast is over so each girl is allowed to open one plastic egg full of jelly beans. I get in the shower.

8:30 a.m.—I emerge from the bathroom to find that they’ve broken into at least two other eggs each and also eaten a few small chocolate eggs. They are running around the kitchen in small circles.

I take the remaining eggs and chocolate and stash it high on a shelf.

For the next two hours, they proceed to ask me for candy and/or jelly beans every two to five minutes. I hold firm.

10:45 a.m.—We are all dressed and ready to leave for Grandma’s house. I am trying to snap a photo of them in their Sunday best. Instead they are making faces:

No . . . no sugar buzz here.

Jumping up and down:

Slight sugar buzz

And refusing to look at the camera:

More jelly beans please?

Finally, I bribe them with the promise of another egg with jelly beans if they stand still and let me take one nice picture. Wonder of wonder it works:

Dressed up for Easter

11 a.m.— I give them their reward, we strap them into their car seats and off we go to Grandma’s house.

11:02 a.m.— With Peanut thrashing her head side to side and Loaf waving her arms in the air, I realize that perhaps it was unwise to provide them with more sugar right before an hour-and-a-half car ride. Ooops.

11:45 a.m.—We aren’t even out of New Jersey and Peanut has kicked the back of my seat 432 times. Loaf is even worse — she is screeching at the top of her lungs (granted, she’s happy as can be, she’s just screeching for fun) and flailing in her car seat. Her limbs are flying in every direction as the sugar courses through her body. This is the longest car ride ever.

1 p.m.—We arrive at Mark’s mom’s house, a lovely home filled with many tiny, breakable things. I glance back at the girls. Peanut is bouncing up and down in her car seat as much as the wide canvas straps will allow. Loaf has a glazed over look and is chewing on the sleeve of her coat. I take a deep breathe for courage, make a mental Sign of the Cross and unleash them.

They bound into the house and immediately spy the two delicate bowls of jelly beans on the table. Before I can even get my own coat off, they have eaten more candy. I start to grow really concerned.

1:15 p.m.— I discover Loaf under the dining room table with a fistful of chocolate eggs in one hand and several empty wrappers in the other. Her lips are coated with chocolate and she is humming and waving her feet in the air.

1:20 p.m.—I am forced to remove all the beautiful and delicate bowls of candy from the dining room table. The more sugar the girls eat, the more they want, and they have lost all measure of self control along with any ability to listen or follow directions.

They head into my mother-in-law’s living room, where they proceed to remove all the cushions from the furniture, jump around and spin in circles.

2 p.m. — Lunch is served. I manage to get something other than sugar into their bodies, which is a very, very good thing. I hope this counteracts the effects, but as I learn, this has about as much positive impact as the proverbial cup of coffee for the drunk. It doesn’t “sober them up” at all. Rather, it seems to give them another burst of energy. We decide now is an excellent time for the outdoor egg hunt.

Here's one!

Got one!

In addition to hunting for eggs, Loaf plucks every single budding crocus from my mother-in-law’s yard. Sorry flowers. Better luck next year:

Waging war on grandma's flowers

3 p.m.— We head back inside to get Easter baskets from Grandma and Grandpa. They tear them apart in about 15 seconds, then begin pillaging their newest Easter eggs for goodies. Some of the plastic eggs in their bags have broken open, and they are frantically stuffing loose jelly beans and Raisinettes into their mouths knowing I am about to take them away. And I do. But not before they get a goodly amount down their throats.

3:30 p.m.— Cupcake time. Because what these kids really need right about now? Is an energy boost.

Bunny cupcakes! Because we really need more sugar!

4:50 p.m. — Mark is helping his mom with her computer upstairs. I am attempting to read the girls’ new books to them, but neither can sit still. Loaf has head-butted me in the face three times and Peanut is rolling on the floor.

We head upstairs. My in-laws are in the middle of repainting their bedroom and the room is practically empty with only a few pieces of furniture pushed against the wall. It seems to be the ideal place for my kids, except that Loaf keeps opening the closet door and slamming it shut and both keep trying to climb on top of the furniture.

When they’re not doing either of those things, they are on the floor doing somersault after somersault and/or flopping on the floor like two fish out of water. Seriously, it appears they have lost complete control of their bodies – they are thrashing in every direction.

After Loaf slams the door one more time, I yell out, “THAT’S IT! GET OVER HERE.” My mother-in-law and Mark come in.

“I think it’s time to go because otherwise, I’m going to beat her,” I tell Mark. Which, is probably a really stupid thing to say in front of one’s mother-in-law. Um . . . Hi Pat. It’s me. I have never and would never beat either of my children – really. Just a little frustrated in the moment. Sorry!

5:30 p.m.—We are back in the car. Now, you would probably think by now they are ready to crash. In fact, Mark’s mom says, “Oh they’ll probably be asleep before you hit the Thruway.”

I would have guessed she was right. And under normal circumstances, she would have been right. But today, on a day when they have eaten more sugar than they normally eat in two full weeks, is an entirely different ball game. The sugar buzz is way too powerful. They are crying, whining, melting down and . . . Most. Definitely. Not. Sleeping.

I am talking on the phone with my mother. Loaf is in full-blown meltdown mode. She cries and screams for nearly 20 minutes before Mark (don’t-make-me-pull-this-car-over) pulls the car over on the freakin’ N.Y. Thruway, gets out, opens her door and says, “WHAT? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?”

That’s it folks. We have officially crossed over into insanity. And what do they say? You have to hit rock bottom before you can rebound back. Loaf looks at him and screeches back, “NOOOOOOOOO!”

I calmly turn around and resume my conversation with my mother, who somehow doesn’t seem to hear any of this. (Or if she does, she is politely ignoring it).

6:30 p.m.—The car is silent. Both girls are sound asleep. Mark and I remark that it was like we had two different children with us today — children who did not listen AT ALL, were manic, hyper, physically insane and emotionally fragile. I have never seen anything like it. I really wish I had a video camera because I would play it again and again before every major holiday as a reminder.

Next year, maybe we’ll put coins in those eggs instead of jelly beans.

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Blogger Maureen said...

The pics are very cute - even when not cooperating! I am snickering at your story though! Not at you but with you, solidarity baby! I so feel your pain. I lived the same hell on Saturday at an Easter egg hunt. I was one of those moms who chased and called their kid's name 300 times while he ignored me. Fun! He did about 200 loops around the yard with me in tow.

Candy=kiddie crack! Danger, danger!!!

I really think Easter was worse than Halloween and I limited the amount of candy that the Easter bunny brought. Unfortunately, my mom doesn't play by my rules!

2:01 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Sugar turns'em as sure as the sun will rise each morning.

But you know what, they're kind of impossible not to grin at despite their sugared up antics.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Mayberry said...

oh, mama, right there with you! We had the worst bedtime in ages on Sunday night. The Easter Bunny brought ONE small toy per kid and everything else was candy. Next year I take back the shopping job.

love those dresses though!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Minnesota Matron said...

Sounds like we had the same sort of holiday (although we hid Merrick instead of eggs). Cupcakes at Easter? That was smart.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eep! I've been there :)

7:27 AM  
Blogger Elaine A. said...

Oh dear! My son is only allowed a little candy a day after one of these blasted holidays. Unfortunately that plan only makes it last longer... There really is no good solution, is there?

They sure are cute in those dresses. Wish I could dress someone in cute tights with flowers on them, but I don't think my husband would approve. ; )

Happy (late) Easter!

5:54 PM  
Blogger Binkytown said...

It's crazy isn't it? The sugar rush? I kept telling myself, it's Easter- it's what they are supposed to do- didn't make it any easier to deal with. Thanks Easter Bunny.

Stop by- you've been tagged!

1:03 PM  
Blogger Rocas said...

When our kids were that age, we left them over my brother in laws for a day and told him and his wife; NO CANDY, NO CHOCOLATE - or you will be sorry.
They knowing 'better' than us of course gave them the forbidden goods.
When we came back to collect them in the evening, their house was a wreak, the kids were climbing the walls and my BIL and his wife looked like shell shock victims.
My wife scolded her brother and made them keep the kids overnight.

It would be years before they had their 1st kid.

Thanks for the memories!

8:10 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

I'm behind in blog reading so I just got to this. I'm sorry but I was laughing so hard I was crying!

10:32 AM  

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