The Dinosaur Egg

First I just want to say how much I love my mom. I LOVE her. She’s an awesome mom, a great grandma — well, not a great grandma, a GREAT grandma. That is, she has no grandchildren old enough to — never mind. My mom has a wonderful sense of humor. She’s kind, she’s smart; sometimes instead of google I’ll just check with her. She’s an accomplished generous woman. She used to have a standing gig where she read to the blind. No, seriously. I remember years ago when she happened to tell me and I was like, oh, I’ll never be that good. Bottom line, my mother is a wonderful human being. I just want to make that clear.

My mother, wonderful.

In anticipation of her and my dads’s trip to Chicago this past weekend, she stopped at Peterson’s to get something for my kids. Peterson’s, which everyone has called Von Maur since the 90’s, is the Saks Fifth Avenue of Des Moines. They have nice things. I’m guessing it’s a grandparent’s prerogative to get the good stuff knowing we just go to Target — not that there’s anything wrong with that. Target may very well be the best store in the world. We always spend between $75-$150. ALWAYS. Even when we just need wipes, because of course we also need these pajamas, this hand soap, more pasta, milk, frozen pizza, toothpaste, this super soft throw blanket that’s on sale, and ooooh check out this ergonomic spatula.

My mother, in addition to being all the things mentioned above, has a great sense of style. And lucky for us, she enjoys outfitting my kids in cool attire. When she brought out the beautiful gift wrapped boxes (Peterson’s wraps for free) last night after dinner, I knew this visit would be no exception. Mostly because my mom had mentioned it to me earlier.

“I know kids aren’t really into clothes,” she’d said. “I think I really just get them for Pam.”

Pam, like my mother, also has a great sense of style. And ironically/coincidentally had said the exact same thing the other day when she came back from the Gap. “I don’t know if Nola will like these,” she’d said holding up a top with a black cat print along with a pair of sparkly pants. “I think I just get them for myself.”

“I also got them some kind of egg,” my mom had said. “It hatches. You can watch it hatch.”

As a parent of a child in the 20 mid-teens, and as a frequent Target shopper, I am woefully familiar with eggs you can watch hatch. We have TWO. They are called Hatchimals, and they are this decade’s Furby. The kids like them. They bleep, and blurp. They also walk, dance, and sing. Personally, I prefer them when the battery gets low and they sound drunk. Although they are best when off.

“Cool,” I said.

“It’s a dinosaur egg. You put it in water and when it hatches there are four dinosaurs.”

Ok, well, then this wasn’t a Hatchimal. You do NOT get that thing near water. In that sense it’s like a Gremlin (mid-80s), only (spoiler alert) it doesn’t multiply — it shorts out. Also, it seemed weird one egg would yield four dinosaurs as I’m pretty sure toy paleontology is still based on science, but ok.

“Cool,” I said again. But this time I raised my eyebrows and stuck out my lower lip. And then I played a quick game of Jeopardy in my mind…

I’ll take Dinosaur Eggs for a thousand.

These eggs only hatch after being submerged in water. What are they and where are these located?

What are impulse buys found near the register?

That is correct!

My mom set down the boxes and the kids ripped off the wrapping paper like starving piranha would the flesh of an unfortunate capybara. When they were little, the gift wrap often became the actual gift. Then it became the box (and honestly sometimes it still is). But they’re older now so they know there’s a prize INSIDE. Nola did a pretty good job feigning delight and joy for her new clothes. Judah cast aside his fresh threads with the wrapping paper and kept looking. And to his credit he found the egg.

“It’s a dinosaur egg,” my mom said with true excitement. “It’s for both of you. It has four dinosaurs inside.”

“I want to play with it!” shouted Judah holding up the box. “I want it!”

“Wait a second,” said my mom. “Let your dad open it and he’ll tell you how it works. You have to share.”

I was handed the box. I looked for the instructions on the side.

“Let’s see,” I said holding the box out in front of me. “Place the egg in cool water. Make sure it’s fully submerged. Allow it to stay undisturbed for forty eight to seventy two hours.”

I looked up at my mom whose fervor quickly turned to surprise and then to embarrassment.

“I want it!” screamed Judah. “I want it! I WANT TO SEE IT!”

“Hold on, bud,” I said. “You can hold it and look at it. But daddy has to put it in water for two to three days. It needs to just sit in water. By itself. For two to three days.”

My mom was laughing.

“It will be fun in a few days, bud. Maybe even before grandma and grandpa have to go back home.”

Even my dad was laughing.

“Of course, waiting is fun,” I went on. (I couldn’t help myself.) “Kids love to wait. And take turns. Oh, I know! We can take turns waiting. Let’s break it down into six hour chunks. Who wants to wait first?”

My mom was laughing really hard. “Stop,” she cried. “I didn’t know. I didn’t read the directions.”

“Clearly,” I said. “Who gives a child the gift of waiting?”


“And they can’t even touch it because it’ll be UNDERWATER!”

“Please stop!”

The box DID say the words Four Different Dinos and did not include Collect Them All, so I could see where my mom (or anyone) thought maybe there were four inside. Still, I had my doubts. Again, science. But also supply/demand, materials, etc.

“Ok, bud,” I said to Judah who was trying to grok the fun quotient of his grandmother’s quadruple-wrapped-delayed-gratification ‘gift’. “Give it back to daddy and let me go find a deep bowl and fill it with water. Who wants to watch daddy fill a bowl with water?”

“Stephen,” said my mother who was still laughing. “I am so sorry. I had no idea.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “No big deal. In a couple of days this is going to be A LOT of fun. Let’s just put it water and see where we are tomorrow morning. You know, in twelve hours or so. Maybe there will be a crack in the shell.”

I put the egg in a bowl and filled it water. I set it on the counter.

“Ok,” I said. “Who wants to look first?”

“I want to see,” shouted Judah.

“Sure, bud.” I lifted him up and let him look on in silence at the egg sitting under water in the bowl. “What do you think, Jude? Pretty cool, huh?”


“Nola, you want to have a look?” I lifted her up so she could see the egg lying under the quiet surface of the water. “Check it out. It’s perfectly still. What do you think?”

“Cool,” she said.

My kids are good sports. Or at least polite.

“Nola, Judah,” said Pam. “What do you say to grandma and grandpa?”

“Thank youuuu!” they said in unison and with some harmonized sustain.

“Stephen,” said my mom after the kids were busy playing (with their more interactive toys). “Maybe we can go to a T — O — Y — S — T — O — R — E tomorrow and-”

“Ok, well first, Nola can spell. And second, no. I’m totally teasing you. Seriously, this will help them learn patience — which is truly a gift, so…”

“Stop! Please!” And she started laughing again.

I mentioned how my mother has a wonderful sense of humor, right?

Full disclosure: My mom made me take her to a toy store the next day. So it was win-win, and win. The kids scored.

Fuller disclosure: I was right — just ONE dinosaur in the egg.

Fullest disclosure: It was actually pretty cool. (We got the T-Rex.) Also we found a time lapse video on YouTube — which has over three million views. Turns out my mom’s right on the pulse.

Fun fact: One morning during their visit, I went on a bagel run with my dad and I learned something. If you have dual climate in your car, but your dad is always cold and sets his side on 80 — it doesn’t really work. (Can’t remember the secret to the McDLT — styrofoam?)

Every time you click that clap a puppy gets a belly scratch, an ear rub, AND a handful of super yummy crunchy puppy treats. But if not, it gets the hose again. Just saying…




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Stephen H Stein

Stephen H Stein

Have a nice day unless you have other plans.

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