easter eggs and child psychology

Because Daniel is three years old, his answer is always "Noooo!" when I ask him if he wants to do something. This is the case even if it's something he would like to do. I am slowly but surely figuring out how to present potentially fun activities in a way that makes them as enticing as possible.

Yesterday, for instance, I decided to dye Easter eggs. I remember doing this as a child and really enjoying it. I knew Daniel would get a kick out of it, but I also knew that if I said "Hey, Daniel, would you like to dye some eggs?" his answer would inevitably be "Nooo, I don't want to." I picked up one of those Paas egg kits you can get anywhere for $1.49; you know, the kind with dye tablets and stickers and little plastic egg wraps. I lined up 6 coffee mugs, one for each color, on the table and put a few tablespoons of vinegar in each one. "Daniel, I need your help with something!" I called. He saw the cups lined up on the table and was instantly intrigued.

From then on it was easy. I brought out crayons to scribble on the eggs. I let him drop the dye tablets in the vinegar, and we watched as they fizzed and popped into bright easter colors. I think his favorite part of the whole process was dropping eggs into the cups and later when they were dry, peeling tiny stickers off the sticker sheet and sticking them to the dyed eggs.

It's hard to remember sometimes that when it comes to little kids and creative projects like dyeing eggs or painting a picture or what-have-you, the fun is the process. The end product has very little to do with it. When Daniel paints with his little watercolor set, he almost exclusively uses black and brown. He takes the brush, squishes it into what's left of those colors, smears a few poop-colored lines onto the paper, and he's done. Sometimes he'll mix black into another color like purple or red and paint a few stripes, but mostly he sticks to what he knows and likes. I have to stop myself from trying to make him use more colors or paint something representational. He's only 3, after all.

Of course, when it comes to cookies, very little coaxing is needed. Daniel helped me for at least an hour this morning cutting out pieces with the cookie cutter and choosing icing colors. He wanted to use brown, but I'm sorry, cookies with brown-colored icing (that's not chocolate) is where I draw the line. He happily made due with golden yellow instead.

Happy Easter!


Steph said…
I am going through serious Daniel withdrawal. I just miss him so much.
Tooz said…
Loved this! I have a picture somewhere of Ann, after her first experience dying Easter eggs. She didn't much like the taste of that purple Easter-egg dye.
Becca said…
I have never dyed Easter eggs. Maybe I'll introduce CJ and me to it next year.
Strangeite said…
We did not dye eggs with Sophie but we probably should have.

Anna and I struggled with Easter and how to handle it with Sophie. We both love us some Jesus and believe very strongly in his teachings; but Easter is tricky.

Neither of us can get behind the whole "the only path to salvation is through Jesus" schtick. No way, no how is Ghandi burning in hell because he refused to be baptised.

The problem is that we have too much respect for Christians we know and love to coop their very holiday that is the basis of Christian salvation. The secularization of Christmas is one thing, because it is just a celebration of Jesus coming to the world, but Easter is different. I just don't feel right about it.

However, her grandparents sent her Easter baskets which we let her have and she had fun with the Easter egg hunt at a birthday party. So I guess we are just semi-hypocrites. Won't promote the holiday ourself but allow others to do it for us.

Ok, I have spilled enough of my mental problems onto your blog.

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