One of the things every toddler "should be doing" was going to visit the Easter Bunny.
Garrett saw the bunny on his first Easter.
And his second Easter.
So cute! (Which is why Charlie and I were foolish enough to have another son four months after this photo.)
Then came Easter of 2002.
Garrett was in full blown SMS Toddlerhood. But, it was okay because "SMS was not going to define us." He was almost three and every three year old boy should go see the Easter Bunny.
Even if said toddler could not wait in long lines. Or wait at all. For anything. Ever!
We had to get our picture taken with the Easter Bunny. Had to. And the only place we could see that bunny was at the mall. So, we waited until Charlie's day off and planned our Man-to-Man Defense. Two adults, one baby and one Garrett. What could go wrong?
We got in line with our double seat stroller. The baby was in the back, reclined and quietly drinking his bottle. Garrett was in the front seat. He reached out and hit the kid in front of him. We backed up and Charlie stood between Garrett and the rest of the world. Garrett cried out and tried to break loose of the seat belt.
Charlie pointed to the bunny. "Look who it is Garrett! Do you want to see the Easter Bunny?" Garrett slapped his head. We took that as a "yes."
"Look at the tree Garrett! Did you ever see a tree in the mall?" He squirmed. He cried. He slapped his head. He bit his hand. And we stayed in line. "Look at the bunny's helpers. Look at the flowers. Look at the camera. Do you want to get your picture taken, Garrett?"
Time stands still when you are in a long line with a three year old boy who was born with Smith-Magenis Syndrome.
Finally, it was our turn. We unfastened Garrett's belt and lifted him out of the front seat. His face was beet red and covered in some sort of tears-snot mixture. Garrett took off running. Charlie chased him down.
I sat the baby on the bunny's lap and Charlie put Garrett on the other leg.
"Smile!" he told Garrett.
The bunny's helper snapped the picture.
"Great job!" she said and leaned down to hand Garrett a plastic bunny finger puppet. I could not get there fast enough to block his arm.
Please, God, don't let him slap her.
Garrett took the toy and flung it towards Macy's. The helper's mouth dropped open.
"Uh-oh! You dropped your toy!" I said and grabbed both his arms, pinned them to his side and marched him out of the Bunny's Hippity-Happy Tree House.
We got in a second line to wait for that picture.
"Get on the Easter Bunny's lap and tell him what a good girl you've been!" I turned around and saw a little girl in a size 4T wedding dress. Apparently, her entire extended family had come to witness the Bunny visit.
"This picture is blurry." The bunny helper showed me our photo. Guess who was moving?
"It's fine." I just wanted to go home. No mother "should be doing" the bunny picture twice in one day.
"No, no. We'll do it again. You can hold him, Mom."
She made the bride get off of the bunny's lap. Grandma made a comment about "some children learning to wait their turn." I moved so that there was no coverage between her and Garrett's right arm. Our baby went back on the lap, but this time I held Garrett and we sat in the chair next to the rabbit.
Garrett was handed two more plastic bunny puppets. I grabbed them both and hid them in my fist. Another picture and we were finally done.
The Baby looked thrilled.
Garrett was still red and flushed.
But the most disturbing thing to me was the big guy himself.
The Easter Bunny.
Why was he smiling? Didn't he know he was in a mask? And why does this disturb me more than anything Garrett did that day?
This was our last Easter picture. Ever.
Our third son never saw the Easter Bunny. Because I no longer care what little boys "should be doing." This picture scared the holy jelly beans right out of me!