Friday, April 6, 2012

The Diabolical Easter Egg Hunt


I was up to no good today.  What kind of mother would take advantage of the festivities of the Easter holiday to manipulate her kids?  The desperate kind, like me.

You may recall from my previous post, The Things We Hold Onto, that my children have a hard time putting things away.  And throwing things away, for that matter.  I decided to trick motivate them into cleaning up their disaster zones bedrooms by making them an offer they could not refuse.

We had an Easter egg hunt-- in their bedrooms.  Their disastrous, unkempt, horrifyingly disheveled living quarters were the perfect place to hide things.  Princess and Birdie have proven this over and over by being unable to find anything inside the space of their own four walls.  Couple the copious hiding places in their rooms with how much my girls LOVE our annual Easter egg hunts and I came up with my evil plan.  I hid five treasure-filled (there's that word again-- but this is my kind of treasure... we're talking candy and cash, y'all, not critters and rocks) plastic eggs in my daughters' nightmarish rooms.  I then told them they were going to go on a treasure-filled egg hunt!  But there are a few rules.

The rules of my diabolical egg hunt:

1.  You must clean your room, not toss your room, to get to keep the treasure.  This is especially important since one of the five eggs has $5 in it.

2.  The egg hunt is not over until all five eggs are found.

3.  You must have less stuff in your room after the egg hunt than when you started the egg hunt.  In other words, get rid of some stuff, dudes.

4.  You must check in with Mom (me) when you have found the fourth egg so the progress of your hunt/cleaning can be inspected.

Birdie's dumping ground
Princess's pit

You may wonder-- or not-- about rule #4... It was part of my evil plot to ensure the outcome I desired.  I told the kids I hid five eggs.  The truth is, I only hid four eggs to begin with.  Mama's no fool.  If Princess or Birdie found the cash egg before they were finished cleaning up, they would never. Get. Done.  Ever.  I didn't hide the money at first, just the candy.  Bwahahahaha!  (My mad scientist laugh got a good workout this morning.)

Princess and Birdie began cleaning and searching with unbridled enthusiasm.  Off and on for 45 minutes I would hear celebratory "I found one!" or "Woohoo!"  I suspected from the sounds I was hearing,  however, that very little cleaning was actually happening.  When I went upstairs, I discovered my darlings pushing things from one side of the room to the other in search of their fifth eggs while chowing down on the candy they found in the first four.  I also noted that nothing was in the trash or donation bags.

Rule #3 was, let's just say, met with some reluctance-- which turned into outright resistance.  Everything they have is very precious, after all.  Being very flip about the lack of "donations" I was seeing, I threw out the comment "I'd even be willing to pay you $0.50/lb for the stuff you get rid of if you'd just get rid of something!"  Well...  Birdie's ears perked right up at this money-making opportunity.  Even Princess thought the cash sounded good.  Hmmm... I should really think things through completely before making such grandiose statements.  I don't know what it is about cold, hard cash that loosened the death grip on the things my darlings once held so dear-- and I don't really care!  Whatever it is, it lessened the anxiety of parting with "things" and that is a big WIN!  (I can guess that it may have something to do with the thought of buying more crap treasures, but I don't know that for certain, so I still feel successful.)  My once reluctant hunters began busily scurrying around their rooms, stuffing their grocery bags in preparation to sell their memories by the pound.  I am shameless, in case you don't know that by now.  And out and additional $15.  (That's right, baby-- 30 lb of crap just moved OUT!)
30 lb of former treasure-- I'm doing my happy dance just out of view of the camera.

Birdie's floor-- she has a floor!!!
Princess's castle is no longer a royal eye sore!
That final egg was really REALLY hard to find.  At one point, Birdie even speculated that maybe I didn't hide that last egg, but that it would be a gift for finishing the task at hand.  She and Princess kept calling me up to their rooms to ask "how close am I to finding the money egg?"  I had to make a few "suggestions" as to what might get them closer to finding the last egg, like toys that are on the floor aren't actually put away or laundry belongs in the closet, not on your floor or bed-- you know, the not-so-obvious parts of cleaning your room.  Sheesh!  While pointing out the finishing touches, I slipped the money egg under each of my girls' pillows.  When the girls went to put their pajamas under their pillows, they found their final prize.

Two and a half hours and $25 later, Princess and Birdie finally had rooms that don't require hazmat suits to enter.  You may think I am crazy for forking out twenty-five bucks to make it happen, but I feel like I got a deal.  That $25 bought me cleaner rooms for my girls that didn't come with whining, crying, screaming, or the misery and anxiety of having to part with their treasures.  You can tell by the after pics they kept plenty of stuff, but the monetary motivation (okay, bribery) made them consider their things more objectively and less emotionally.  Now that I think about it, I usually pay a babysitter between $10-20/hr to get a couple of hours free of tears, whining, screaming, and anxiety.  Hey-- this little project was a BARGAIN! 

We got PAID!
All that's left for me to do now is to freecycle the former treasures.  Yay!  

Happy hunting from my very happy hunters!


  1. You are one AWESOME MOMMA! Happy Easter!

    1. Thank you, Anonymous. :) Happy Easter to you too.

  2. Genius. Going to try it with Kris. I will hide beers!

    1. Tell me how that goes. I may try it with my hubby too if it works for you.

  3. WOW, you are gooooood!!!! I'll have to remember these fantastic tips when I get to this point. Love it!