A friend texted me yesterday asking if I wanted to meet their family at Tuckaseegee Park for the annual toddler egg hunt. The hunt was at 10 a.m. and specifically for kids under five. Most of the public egg hunts we've attended in the past have been overcrowded and overrun by older kids. I was excited to have something lower key for the trio and Jackson.
We had a really good time despite some serious bumps in the road. The photos below depict a perfect afternoon, the we faced quite a few challenges during our 3 hours together. \
- Both my friend and I, along with at least a dozen other moms, drove to the wrong park. Apparently there are two Tuckaseegee Parks. The better known one that all our phones navigated us to is in a slightly sketchy location. The one where the egg hunt was being held was located 15 minutes further south.
- My thong sandal completely broke--resulting in me either limping to try and keep it on or walking barefoot for two hours
- It was so windy in the beginning. Crafts were blowing around. Not surprisingly, Maddie was very stressed out and crying because she doesn't tolerate strong wind.
- Despite three prescription medications, Jackson's eyes were terribly irritated after a few hours. He started rubbing his eyes and screaming, signaling the end of our afternoon at the park.
- During our picnic lunch by the river, Jackson's BFF was stung by a bee on his hand. Hysteria ensued for the poor little guy. This happened within minutes of Jackson's meltdown.
- My friend and I got all six kids back to the van (which was quite a long walk) by pulling the wagon, pushing a stroller, wearing Jackson on my shoulders, and placing Amelia on the canopy of her stroller--all while barefoot.
Thankfully, I was in good company, with a mom that I'm totally comfortable around. Otherwise it would have been a disaster. I think we all held it together for the sake of each other. Now, on with the narrative of our better moments...
Jackson was happy to have crafts to complete. His friend was much less interested, but Jackson never turns down a craft.
Jackson and his friends were happy to see the giant Easter bunny. Maddie became traumatized at the sight of him. Between the wind and the scary rabbit, it took her an hour to recover.
Strangely, the rabbit kept following us around, causing even greater distress during the egg hunt. Please look at Amelia and Maddie's faces in the two photos below.
The egg hunt was pretty well organized. There were two large fields scattered with eggs. Children ages 0-2 were allowed to "hunt" for eggs first. James and Amelia were ready!
Maddie cried and covered her face the entire time. I put three eggs in her basket, then carried her around to console her.
The older boys waited outside the fence with our wagon and stroller while the little ones hunted. This was the point when my shoe broke and Maddie was most upset. We were late returning to the other side of the fence, causing us to miss the beginning of the second egg hunt for kids 3-5 years old. We told the boys to run!
Even with a late start, they racked up on eggs.
I don't think Jackson would have near as much fun without his friend. The two boys are so goofy.
After the egg hunt we walked over to the playground. This was the turning point for Maddie. The wind died down and the Easter bunny disappeared. The six kids played happily on multiple playgrounds.
We had the foresight to pack a picnic lunch. The park had a beautiful greenway right along the Catawba River.
We walked part of the trail until we arrived at the water. Neither one of us brought a blanket and there wasn't an especially nice area to sit down. At least the view was lovely!
I would have loved to let the kids put their feet in the river, skip rocks, or pretend to fish with long sticks. Unfortunately, the 3 hour mark was accompanied with severe eye allergies and a bee sting, signaling the end of our adventure. We endured the long haul back to our vans.
I suppose it's expected to have some moments of chaos when so many toddlers and preschoolers are together. Despite a few hiccups in the afternoon, it was a gorgeous day filled with fun, free adventure.