And the egg-mara­cas play on

Maryland Independent - - S O U T H E R N M A R Y L A N Dclassified -

If you need me, I’m prob­a­bly still hunt­ing Easter eggs. Oliver’s first holiday was a suc­cess. In an ef­fort to set our­selves up to go com­pletely bonkers, Spencer and I hosted an early brunch for fam­ily at home be­fore hoofin’ it out to Culpeper, Va. — a re­lax­ing two-hour drive away — to see my grand­mother and cousins.

It was a fun, wild, ex­haust­ing Sun­day.

In con­trast to Christ­mas, the last ma­jor holiday we cel­e­brated, 11-month-old Oliver has grown by leaps and bounds. aHe’s much more aware of moods, sur­round­ings and peo­ple than he was in De­cem­ber, staring at faces and al­ways lis­ten­ing closely.

Our en­thu­si­asm lead­ing up to Easter must have been con­ta­gious . . . be­cause our kid went nuts.

Bounc­ing-off-his-crib, squeal­ing­like-a-mon­key, flap­ping-like-a-bird kind of crazy.

For the most part, we roll with his wild-man an­tics. I mean, he’s a baby. It’s not like I can rea­son with him, po­litely re­quest­ing he use an in­door voice. Some­times I swear Spence sneaks sugar into his bot­tles; com­pletely out of nowhere, Oliver will at­tempt flight.

Though I should prob­a­bly an­tic­i­pate this by now, I rarely ex­pect the jump­ing. One minute we’re calmly en­joy­ing (read: gnaw­ing on) a book to­gether, and the next Ol­lie is growl­ing and launch­ing from my arms. It’s all very . . . abrupt. But on Easter, Ol­lie did us proud. He pulled out his baby man­ners and im­pressed rel­a­tives with his friend­li­ness, go­ing along with the pro­gram and rarely fuss­ing un­til the big time-to-go melt­down in Culpeper. We have the eggs to thank. He was too lit­tle for a true egg hunt, of course; he can’t crawl, let alone run to keep up with his spritely cousins. Spence helped him “find” a few eggs in Maw Maw’s yard, but we left most for the big kids. No sense in en­ter­ing that war zone.

Oliver did love shak­ing his eggs like mara­cas, en­joy­ing the tin­kling of the coins inside. That kept him oc­cu­pied for a good 10 min­utes — a pos­si­ble record.

I of­fered to place his $1.15 win­nings in a piggy bank, but I think it went to­ward my Mon­day cof­fee. In my de­fense: Mon­day. I think I en­joyed his first Easter so much be­cause, un­like Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas, it wasn’t so fraught with ex­pec­ta­tions. Spencer, Ol­lie and I were sick for most of De­cem­ber, so the shop­ping, wrap­ping, dec­o­rat­ing and trav­el­ing were over­whelm­ing. My en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm wore thin; I felt weary and tat­tered.

But in the months since, we have ac­tu­ally slept. Oliver has got­ten stronger, fun­nier and more vo­cal. I have be­come a calmer par­ent, and I’m learn­ing to choose my bat­tles — es­pe­cially if they in­volve an­other episode of “The Mup­pets” so I have time to wedge in my con­tact lenses. I do like vision.

Plus, this Easter stood in sharp con­trast to last year’s. I knew some­thing was off as we drove home from my grand­mother’s that day. I was in my third trimester of preg­nancy, al­ready warned about my ris­ing blood pres­sure — and when we checked my num­bers later at home, they’d sky­rock­eted.

That kicked off the long­est, scari­est week of my life — the last week be­fore we wel­comed Oliver. By the fol­low­ing Sun­day, I was in la­bor.

Though rainy and gray, this Easter was joy­ous. Cel­e­bra­tory. Maybe a touch chaotic with cook­ing and bak­ing, vis­it­ing with fam­ily, long drives and ri­otous egg hunts . . . but it was so nice to re­turn to Culpeper with our lit­tle boy in tow. I have learned grat­i­tude. We stood be­side the tree Maw Maw al­ways dec­o­rates with pas­tel egg or­na­ments, a tra­di­tion since her grand­chil­dren were young — or maybe even be­fore. Easter is her fa­vorite holiday, an oc­ca­sion that al­ways falls on or near her birth­day . . . and now my son’s, too.

I thought of how much has changed since I last sat on her deck with swollen an­kles and swollen hands. We chat­ted at her pic­nic ta­ble as rogue rain­drops fell, de­light­ing the kids sprint­ing by. Oliver’s egg-mara­cas play on: our Easter sound­track.

And then I sink down to pick up all the eggs Ol­lie has chucked, up­end­ing his bas­ket to chomp on its han­dle. I don’t think he’s de­vel- oped a sense of hu­mor about see­ing his par­ents crouch­ing to clean up his messes just yet, but I know it’s com­ing.

In the mean­time, I gather the eggs that roll un­der chairs, wedge into cush­ions and cat­a­pult down stairs. It makes him happy, toss­ing these plas­tic shells, so I do it. I don’t re­ally mind it. Any­thing for our kids, right?

And any­way, I keep think­ing I hear coins rat­tling.

That cof­fee isn’t go­ing to buy it­self.

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