Being a super fantastic genius father, I hatched a brilliant idea to introduce my 2-year-old daughter to egg-dyeing for the very first time. Oh sure, it was probably going to make an unholy mess. And it might dole out a few more gray hairs too. But it was Easter! And it wasn’t like the house was going to burn down…right?
Right. The house is still standing, thanks primarily to my wife, who kept the wheels on this crazy ride well greased. For example, when I decided to dye some eggs with Audrey, I went out to the store to get one of those Paas boxes. It was only three bucks, so why not? I brought that box home ready to get this Easter party started. “Did you get any eggs?” asked my wife. Long pause.
A day later we had our eggs. Too bad we didn’t know how to hard boil them.
Back when I was in college and saw the world as one giant opportunity-laden oyster I needed to hard boil an egg. I’m not sure why. My taste in food could best be described as sophisticated so it was probably for egg salad. But I was lost. I had no idea what to do. I knew boiling was involved. I knew eggs were involved. But back then there was no such thing as the internets, so what was a lost soul to do? Call Grandma. She told me that I needed some eggs. And that I needed to boil them. Success! Unfortunately in the decades since, that precious knowledge seeped out of my head like some dark bubbling crude. And with my wife not an egg connoisseur either, we turned to a real expert: Crocker. Betty Crocker.
Fast forward and a dozen eggs were at the ready. So were eight bowls of dye, three of which were somehow the same shade of blue. I was readying the kitchen table when my wife’s wisdom rose up and smacked me in the face. “We shouldn’t do this on the table. Put some paper down on the floor instead.” Because my wife will be reading this I must admit that I protested a bit. You don’t dye eggs on the floor! You dye them at a table! This is America!
But she was right. The floor was the right call. But that wasn’t apparent from the start. Within seconds of taping the paper to the floor the house’s riff-raff emerged from the woodwork, such as Audrey with her chalk…
Monty, the cat that will sit on anything crunchy…
And Ike, pain in the ass that he is.
While all these troublemakers were making trouble I was patting myself on the back for busting out the magic Paas crayon and writing out Audrey’s name on half of the eggs. What a special treat! I’m such an awesome dad. That’s when Audrey caught wind of what I was doing and wanted to get in on the action.
So precious. Too bad this tender moment didn’t last for long. Being “magic”, this crayon’s output is mostly invisible upon application and Audrey didn’t quite get what the heck we were doing it for. Nevertheless, I managed to get some good manic scribbling out of her and onto three of the twelve eggs at our disposal.
Finally, it was dyeing time! What happened next took less time than it takes to microwave a bag of frozen peas.
Eggs were dropped from great heights into bowls of dye. Eggs flitzed in and out of different bowls at rapid speed. Patience was not employed.
But it was a lot of fun.
It was also discoloring Audrey’s hands to a Smurfish hue. And she had to wear a special poofy Easter dress later on that same day. My wife and I then had a strange reversal of temperments. I don’t handle messes well. Usually I would get a little lightheaded over situations such as these, but this time it was my wife doing the handwringing. “She can’t have blue hands all day!” My reply: “It’ll be funny!”
Good parenting, dad.
Thanks to the great power of the internet, we learned that some hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda can take care of such matters. And thirty minutes later, our hands were all back to their normal, pale, New Englandy complexion.
We also had a dozen strangely colored, cracked, surprisingly soft boiled–what’s up with that, Betty?–eggs to enjoy!
If you look closely you can see some of the magic crayon letters and scribbles. That is if you can get past the sheer destruction on display. Still, a certain sense of accomplishment had been achieved. Thank goodness.
I imagine that next year will be different though. With Audrey a year older I’m hopeful we’ll be able to sit at a table like normal people and dip the eggs–properly hard boiled this time!–in the different dyes in a patient, controlled manner. I’ll also remember to buy eggs. And not make jest of my wife’s consternation at the color of her daughter’s Easter Sunday hands.
Then again, I’ll just as likely make all the same mistakes.