Growing up we always dyed Easter eggs on the night before Easter, so I planned to do the same thing with my kids. This year, I had meant to prepare by boiling the eggs and setting aside bowls and food coloring, but the whole thing completely slipped my mind.
The whole thing slipped my mind until moments before we sat down for dinner, which was already running dangerously close to bedtime. So I did what any rational procrastinator would do: I put 16 eggs in a pot and boiled them while we ate. And if anyone dared suggest, maybe we could dye them tomorrow? After church? I barked, EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE, DO NOT QUESTION THIS, TOM!
As soon as I was sure the eggs were probably done, I started trying to cool them enough so that my kids would have to at least have a firm grip on them before they got third degree palm burns.
While Tom cleared dinner, I gathered coloring, and a big plastic table cloth and started rounding up bowls. I was this close to putting it all on the table when I called my best audible to date.
LET’S PAINT THE EGGS!
Without even knowing if washable, non-toxic watercolors would actually adhere to an eggshell, I grabbed two paintbrushes and began to excitedly describe the creative opportunities to my children.
PATTERNS! COLOR MIXING! ZERO CHANCE OF SPILLING A BOWL OF DYE IN YOUR LAP TEN MINUTES BEFORE BEDTIME!
And it worked! The kids had fun! And the clean up? I can’t even talk about the clean up because besides putting the paint back in the craft box, there was almost no clean up. (And this from a person who can’t bear to watch her kids paint.)
It worked, but they still wanted to dye Easter eggs.
I told them that we would. We would dye Easter eggs later. Hoo-boy did they follow up on that.
Thomas spiked an awfully inconvenient fever on Sunday night, so later kept getting pushed to the next day and the next day because, as I explained, “I cannot take care of Thomas while he’s sick and also dye Easter eggs.”
And they just blinked and asked, “What about now? Can we dye Easter eggs now?”
Finally, four days after Easter, Thomas was well and the sun was shining. Perfect for Easter eggs.
Yay! We are outside! Look at Mommy’s egg-dyeing stress melting away!
I’m always impressed with fancy eggs designs, but this is how I grew up dyeing eggs: food coloring, vinegar, hot water, eggs.
After begging me to dye eggs, Mary Virginia dyed exactly one purple egg and then asked me if she could take off her smock and go play.
David, on the other hand, focused. He dyed the remaining eggs, and was amazed at the process and natural patterns on the eggs.
Maybe, for him, I should expand my egg-dyeing repertoire.
When we finished, the kids collected other things from the yard to see if they could dye them, too — rocks, a pinecone, firewood, a Dandelion.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t really work. Perhaps if they’d let things set longer? Or perhaps whatever dyeable properties an eggshell has, most other things don’t have.
But it was still really fun, and the kids were captivated by submerging or spilling the water over their selections.
Spoiler alert #2: whatever dyeable properties an egg shell has, your kids’ fingers also have. But it’s fine, because blue fingers are totally socially acceptable in the five and under demographic.
(And especially the week after Easter.)