Grown ups are no fun.
We have known this since we ourselves were children.
But it is sometimes impressive to see how great they are at ruining a fun time.
Take the Easter Egg hunt we went to today.
We thought a community Easter Egg Hunt sounded like a fun time, and since entry donations support a local woman’s shelter, we also thought it sounded like a good cause.
The place was packed. Swarming. We were a little surprised. PH had to drop us off and park a klick up the road.
I got Owl registered and we found our way to the section for ages 3-4. I thought it was smart of them to divide it by age group so that big kids wouldn’t be snatching from little babies.
When we got there I discovered that “hunt” was a bit of a misnomer. The playground area had been roped off and little bags of chocolate eggs were strewn willy nilly over every horizontal surface within the small boundaries. I realized it would be less of a hunt and more of a grab-what-you-can. Think of the Cornucopia Blood Bath in The Hunger Games.
I positioned Owl close to the ropes, handed him his basket, and quietly advised him that if he was having trouble getting any candy, he should head up the playground equipment because the kids would probably scramble for the stuff on the ground first.
They started the count down. 10… 9… 8…
When the count go down to “go!” something strange happened.
I had been expecting all the kids to rush in and mob the playground.
Instead, the adults standing around the edge all grabbed their kids’ hands and shuffled in, creating a solid wall that Owl couldn’t get past, and sweeping up all the candy like Roombas so there was nothing left for the kids behind them.
I directed Owl to dodge between a pair of adults and try to get in front so he could actually, you know, hunt for Easter eggs.
He disappeared beyond the wall of adult bodies.
The adults had zombie-shuffled across the entire field, and it was packed with adult and small child bodies. The playground equipment was in complete gridlock, with children wedged into every available space and practically overflowing around the edges. None of them were my son. None of the kids around the base of the equipment were mine. Nor could I see him around the edges of the play area.
Now, I don’t usually worry too much if I lose sight of Owl. I may suffer from anxiety, but I also trust my kid and for the most part I trust other people. Owl knows he’s not supposed to go out of my sight and he isn’t the type to completely disappear. He doesn’t leave the general play area without permission. So when I lose sight of him it’s usually because he’s behind something or under something and simply out of my sight line.
But in this densely packed environment, with adults and kids swarming everywhere, I could see how easy it would be for a child to get snatched.