Magic words: 'Mum, we made the dinner. It's pan-seared sea bass'

Are We There Yet? Some kids watch slime videos, mine watch Masterchef

It’s hard not to feel happy at this time of year, even if you’re a bit bah humbug about Easter.

It’s hard not to feel happy at this time of year, even if you’re a bit bah humbug about Easter.

 

With the grand stretch and the blue skies and the Beast from the East well behind us, it’s hard not to feel happy about this time of year, even if I am a bit bah humbug about Easter.

Easter is a thing that is happening next week by the way. With that important piece of information, I am reaching out to my fellow lackadaisical parents/guardians who don’t have a spreadsheet of activities planned for the duration.

To you fellow travellers I say: it’s the Easter school holidays starting from today so in coming days there will be additional childcare hassles and church services you might need to attend and chocolate eggs to purchase. Consider yourself very gently reminded but not at all judged.

My Easter apathy is uncharacteristic. Christmas is a season I look forward to for months and every Halloween involves weeks of happy preparation and much diligent visiting of two euro shops. Easter, meanwhile, has never been something I can get eggcited about – statutory pun obligation fulfilled there; I hope you noticed that.

Maybe it’s because my mother wasn’t the kind who planted lollipop sticks in the back garden that grew into actual real life lollipop trees – I have a friend who’s mother did that and I’m still jealous. The Easter Bunny didn’t “arrive” in our house, we just got given an Easter egg and that’s only if we were lucky. (Basically, imagine Angela’s Ashes, but way worse).

We weren’t expected to go to mass and we didn’t really do the Lent thing or go visiting relatives on Easter Sunday, so apart from the two weeks off school, Easter kind of passed me by as a kid. I have dutifully passed this Easter ambivalence on to my daughters and as a result they have cheeringly low Easter expectations.

Don’t worry though, I have been eggstremely busy – can’t help myself now – researching family friendly/chocolate-related events taking place over the school break and I’ll have more of them on Good Friday – that’s a thing that’s happening next Friday, remember? But before that I must bring you an anecdote entirely unrelated to Easter:

I’m working late when the call comes through, the one you dream of when you first think about having children.

“Mum, we’ve made the dinner all by ourselves,” a little voice says. “It’s pan-seared seabass and a cauliflower purée with hand-cut chips.”

Some children watch slime videos on YouTube. My nearly nine-year-old daughters watch the American version of Masterchef Junior.

I think we all know who won that particular round of the Game of Life.

Happy Two Weeks off School everyone.

Some things to do with children this week . . .

Tiny Tunes – An Early Years Cabaret

The super-talented actor-singer Susannah de Wrixon faces her toughest audience yet with this pre-school cabaret. Together with her pianist Derek Cremin, she encourages lots of participation through song and movement. Ages up to four will love this every interactive event.

Where: Mill Theatre, Dundrum, Dublin 16, in the Maureen O’Hara Studio

When: Sunday, March 25th, 11am

Cost: €12

Contact: 01-296 9340

Easter on the Rathwood Express

Help Wanted! The Chocolate Egg-making machine has broken down and the Easter Bunny needs your help to get it going again. I’ll let the punmonsters take it from here: “So hop on board the Rathwood Express for an Eggciting adventure taking you deep into the woods to find everything the Easter Bunny needs to save Easter and will also include an Eggceptional egg hunt.” Your ticket includes a train ride through the forest, a chat with the Easter Bunny, an egghunt and a hot chocolate.

Where: Rathwood, Tullow, Co Carlow

When: until April 2nd

Cost: children €10; adults €6

Contact: 059-915 6285

Easter Bunny at the Chocolate Warehouse

This is hard to resist: stroll down Chocolate Avenue viewing all the beautiful Easter scenes and then take a nosy around the Easter Bunny’s hutch. If he likes the look of you he’ll give you an egg and then you can bring it to the Bow Room where you make a bow to decorate it. Your name will be painted onto your egg in chocolate. What’s not to love?

Where: Chocolate Warehouse, Mulcahy Keane Industrial Estate, Greenhills Road, Walkinstown, Dublin 12

When: runs until Saturday, March 31st, 11am-5pm

Cost: children €11 (includes personalised egg)

Contact: chocolatewarehouse.ie

Slieve Aughty Centre Spring Festival

There’s so much to do at the festival, which runs right through Easter. Children can make a spring craft to bring home, and the whole family can try out a silly “spring” wardrobe and take family photos. Follow the Easter Bunny trail to the Enchanted Forest on foot (or take a pony to the gates and back for €10 per child).

Where: Slieve Aughty Centre, Loughrea, Co Galway

When: Saturday, March 24th to Sunday, April 8th, 12-6pm

Cost: €7.50 per person (includes complimentary coffee and juice)

Contact: 090-974 5246

Birr Castle Easter Family Quest

This is a journey that will take explorers – big and small – on a magical journey through time, from great engineering feats to wildlife discoveries. It might not be a traditional Easter Egg hunt but the quest when completed is rewarded with a treat from the playground kiosk. And when you’ve finished exploring, there’s always the tallest treehouse in Ireland to climb.

Where: Birr Castle, Birr, Co Offaly

When: Saturday, March 24th to Sunday, April 8th

Cost: Quest included in regular admission fee: family (two adults and two children): €25; children (five-16 years): €5; adults: €9

Contact: birrcastle.com 057-9120336

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