It is completely natural, as a first-time parent, to assume that you will not fall into the same traps as every parent to ever come before you. Sure, it seems like everyone else’s kid only eats chicken nuggets and hot dogs, but your kid will be different– your kid will eat off the adult menu at a sushi restaurant and everyone will be like, “my goodness, what a little champion among men! You are clearly the greatest parent of all time– I DEMAND you write a book with all your secrets,” and you will laugh and say “oh, no, there’s no secret, we just don’t offer any other food options– we make this child fit into our lives, not the other way around.” And then everyone will applaud, and you will probably win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Or, more likely, your child will stage a hunger strike that goes on for days, and your only options become mac and cheese or death. And it’s not even going to be the good mac and cheese, it’s going to be shaped like Spongebob Squarepants and colored florescent orange.
I think new parents face this dilemma on a daily basis– this one, or any number of others like it. YOUR child will only read classic literature from a very young age, and will already have the entire Harry Potter series under her belt by the third grade (most of which she read by herself, because she’s also a genius). Never mind that right now, MY child will only read one book– something called “Biscuit Makes a Friend”– over and over and over again. One day she may also put her clothes in the hamper without being threatened with amputation, or make it through a trip to the grocery store without imploding when I won’t buy her a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles snack saver. But that day is not today.
No, today was the day I helped her make her first egg surprise video.
If you are a parent and have somehow avoided these up to this point, then congratulations– you really SHOULD write a book with all your secrets (unless your secret is “Don’t let your kid play with the computer,” in which case I will just be ignoring your advice outright). But if you’re anything like me, you were powerless to stop the creep of these videos into your every day life.
The premise is eerily simple– someone, usually a grown-up who probably never has sex with anyone ever, presents a series of plastic Easter eggs to the camera. And then opens them. And there are toys inside. And then we gawk at the toys. And that’s it.
It is really, really creepy.
Of course, there are more variations than just that– sometimes, the eggs are hidden inside inflated balloons, so there’s also the delightful treat of hearing balloons popped before you get to the big toy reveal. Or sometimes, they’re in a kiddie pool, and the star of the video has to go wading for them. Sometimes, the star is just a disembodied, vaguely Asian female voice with a fancy manicure. Sometimes, it’s a man in a really shitty Spiderman costume.
And sometimes, it’s my five-year-old daughter.
To be fair, Addie has moved on to a different, slightly less creepy iteration of the egg surprise video– it’s an offshoot of the genre in which people watch as you build Lego sets. Addie had a pet hospital she wanted to show off to the world, so she disassembled it before even asking if I’d be willing to act as videographer in this scheme. I readily accepted, as it was a family activity we could do together that allowed me to just sit very still and make no noise, so we staged the set in our dining room, and Addie made the magic happen.
As I was filming, I took a moment to appreciate how much work must actually go into these egg surprise videos. Most of the other videos, for instance, didn’t have a backdrop of sun-faded school art, or a cat that appeared halfway through and started eating out of a discarded yogurt container, or a baby intent of providing her own DVD voice-over narration. They also starred narrators who actually knew how to assemble the Lego project in question, and they did not end with a completely unrelated set piece about something called Fart Goo.
The finished product was a triptych of videos so flawless in their amateurish nature that I am certain that we are going to be a write-in for the best film short category at the Oscars this year. When the accolades come rolling in, I fully expect my name to be up there with Scorsese, Spielberg, and the guy who directed Sharknado.
From what I understand, people are making millions of dollars a year creating and starring in these egg surprise videos, but I don’t think Addie is going to be one of them, at least not yet. It’s not exactly the life path I would have chosen for her, but I like to let my children spread their wings wide like eagles, and soar through life at their own altitude.
I also almost exclusively feed them dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and raspberries for every meal, so I might not be the best judge of these sorts of things.