They asked that anyone wanting to participate arrive at least half an hour before the hunt began so they knew how many eggs to put out for each age group. We arrived a little more than half an hour early, which turned out to be great. E got to run around (she particularly liked falling and rolling around in some mulch) and pet some bunnies before it got too crowded. She even tried to take home the smaller of the two rabbits (the bunny's owner picked her up for E to pet, and E tried to just take her away... she would have one it, too, if we hadn't stopped her). For the older kids, they had a cake walk, the Passover [Easter] Bunny was there and ready for pictures, and there was a bubble station--so no one was left with nothing to do for that half hour. We met up with some of our friends--one couple who has an 11-month-old and a 2.5-year-old and the other who have a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old.
So, the time comes and they "break-up" the kids by age: 1-3, 4-6, 7-10... or something there-abouts. Except, they didn't wait long enough for the youngest to get situated before they called the others, so here was a lot of confusion. We finally got to the 1-3 year old area... behind another 85 1-3 year olds, their multiple parents and grandparents.
And there were 30 eggs.
My mom got separated from us and ended up in the area before we managed to get there. She said she counted the eggs (which were just laid out on the grass) and then started counting the children; she stopped counting when she got to almost 70, and there were still children coming.
So, of course, they said "go," the eggs were gone 20 seconds later (about enough time for E to lose her balance and fall over) and that was that. Ewas perfectly happy running around the green space--she didn't care if she had eggs or not. But I was a little disappointed. A) Because we wouldn't have gotten up that early and wasted our whole morning there (although, the picture I took of her attempting to rabbit-nap the bunny was probably worth it) and B) because I really wanted her to have the chance to at least touch an egg. I didn't expect her to come away with many, but one or two would have been nice for her first Egg Hunt.
But that wasn't the worst of it; like I said, E didn't give a flying flip. But most of the children who were there left with nothing and they were VERY upset. Parents were having to console their 4 and 5 year olds because they left with nothing; they didn't understand why they had come to an Egg Hunt and there were no eggs for them--not even one. None of the 5 children we knew that were there (E included) even touched an egg.
My mother and I thought this was a travesty. There should have been enough eggs for each child to leave with at least one--not for most children to leave with nothing. My dad disagreed. He thinks that it's just part of life, and if a child leaves with nothing and they're upset, it's a good teaching moment. I can agree with that assessment... when applied to a child being upset that he only found 3 eggs when his sister found 20.
I asked some of the other officers' wives what they thought of the situation--because, let's face it, if I am ever in a position to run an egg hunt, it will be on post with the FRG. There were a lot of stories about: kids were only allowed to find a certain number of eggs. Or they had to give up eggs so that everyone left with same number. I find that just as obnoxious as not having enough eggs--and I think it's that kind of behavior from which my father was trying to distance himself.
BUT! Have no fear: we stopped by Target on our way home, bought a good 50+ eggs, and hid them around my parents' front yard. E had a great time hunting eggs with my brother. She found about 10, sat down on the grass, and ate all of the jelly beans out of them. We've been hunting for days now, and she's been having a great time. So, or us, at least, it was a happy ending.
So, lesson's learned:
- If I ever "run" an egg hunt, I will be sure to have an over-abundance of eggs. If we expect 30 kids to show up, I will have enough eggs for 130--I would rather everyone go home with a billion eggs than no eggs.
- Don't go to big egg hunts unless organized by someone who doesn't suck.
- Have egg hunts at home with only a few others will probably be the most fun and the least sucky.