"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Saturday, April 3, 2010

eggless easter

I, for one, am a sucker for Holiday Traditions. And I, for one, think that the way I grew up celebrating holidays is the right way. Luckily, my husband grew up with many of the same traditions I did, and the ones he didn't grow up with (doesn't Santa bring new jammies to all kids on Christmas Eve?), are pretty easy to incorporate into our New Family Traditions. But a lot of Holiday Traditions in my family are about the food and treats, which means that there needs to be some tweaking done in order to preserve the tradition, while preventing allergic reactions in my Food Allergic kiddo.

For example:

In our house, Santa drinks soy milk with his vegan christmas cookies.

On Valentine's Day, we make our own chocolate hearts by melting dairy-free chocolate chips and pouring them into a candy mold rather than buying the foil-wrapped hearts.

On Thanksgiving, we eat apple pie (although I hear there are vegan pumpkin pie recipes out there....I just haven't tried working with silken tofu yet).
And on Halloween, we put all of that unsafe Halloween candy by the front door and while we're sleeping, the Great Pumpkin comes and trades it for a new toy.

It's been pretty easy to make these changes. And, because Evan is still in the process of creating memories...not quite recalling memories of Holidays past...this is the way it always has been and will be. Maybe his kids, too, will get a visit from the Great Pumpkin...allergies or not.

A tradition that I've come to love in the past two years, is our Easter Egg Tradition. We really only celebrated Easter with Evan for the first time last year. The previous year, when he was just one-year old, I had bought a few things for his Easter basket (but had forgotten to get the actual basket). On Easter morning, I realized that they were still hidden in the back of the closet (because I, somehow, thought that my one-year-old baby might stumble onto the Easter stash and the whole Easter Bunny thing would be blown forever). I told my husband to "Stall him!" while I ran ahead and put the goodies (Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Eggs for us and a stuffed bunny rabbit and bubbles for Evan) on the coffee table. We didn't even have any plastic eggs to hide. When he saw the mish-mash of stuff on the table, he sort of looked at everything and then made the sign for "Eat Breakfast."

Last year, though, was our first Easter post-allergy diagnosis. No milk, no peanuts, no eggs meant: no chocolate bunnies, no Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Eggs.....and no dyeing Easter eggs?! But when I think back to Easter as a kid, I can still smell the vinegar! I can still recall, in perfectly vivid detail, fighting with my siblings over who would get to use which color dye first. I remember trying to write my name with white crayon on the egg before dyeing it, and being annoyed when I had to use the RoseArt crayon instead of the Crayola, which worked way better. I still remember the competition we would have every year to see who could make the ugliest egg. After making all of our pretty eggs, we would dip our last egg into every color. We called them "Army Eggs," because they all ended up an unattractive army green color (no offense to our service men and women intended). Isn't that what Easter is all about?!

I wasn't about to let my kid miss out on all of those cherished memories. So we started our own eggless tradition. We paint! And it's messy and fun and wonderful. And, if at this time next year we DO have eggs back and we CAN dye them....we probably will. But we will definitely get out our paintbrushes...

Egg Artists from Left: Max, mommy, Evan, daddy. I painted Max's hand blue and let him grab his egg. What you see is his "handprint." Evan preferred the paintbrush technique. When he was finished, he barely had a smear of paint on him anywhere. Neatest. Almost-Three-Year-Old. Ever.

Lesson Learned:

Sometimes the best family traditions are the traditions you started as a New Family.

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