Saturday, April 23, 2011

"The Easter Bunny, really?"

If you are a Cantera kid,
you don't believe in the Easter Bunny . . .

I'm not sure if my children are missing out on some integral part of growing up in suburban America, but they seem well adjusted, so I'm not worried.  They especially love the fact that as pre-schoolers through about 2nd or 3rd grade they are the only kids in on the big secret that a rabbit doesn't bring Easter treats.

As young parents, we planned on perpetuating the myths of Easter bunnies, tooth fairies, leprechauns, and Santa.  So, beginning with Ryan we began hiding eggs and baskets Easter morning and telling him it was a rabbit who made the rounds.  He easily believed and looked forward to these holidays with anticipation.

Enter Caroline - age 41/2 - born skeptic.

Ryan was about 6 at the time and within one week, Caroline had debunked the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and was quickly closing in on Santa before I stopped her in her tracks and made her believe, at least for another few years, that Santa was indeed REAL.

I remember the day well.  It was early spring, a few weeks before Easter, and Caroline had a couple little friends over to play after pre-school.  I had noticed signs of her apparent logic and reasoning skills since she was about three, and on this day she beamed with pride as I finally recognized her talents.

From what I recall, what began as a group of friends playing peacefully in our basement, ended in tears and accusations of who was "right."  I was preparing a snack when suddenly I heard crying, and not a slight whimper, but a child practically hyperventilating through her sobs.  At that moment, Caroline races upstairs and tells me her friends are SO mad at her and want to go home.  Immediately, I'm wondering what in the world my sweet, docile daughter has done to cause such an uproar . . .

Although this incident happened 9 years ago, I do remember our conversation -
 it went something like this:

Me:  "Tell me what is going on down there?"

Caroline (out of breath): "Mom, they don't believe me!!  I told them there is no such thing as a TOOTH FAIRY and they said I was LYING!  Then I told them there is no Easter Bunny and they started crying!  Go tell them RIGHT NOW that I'm right! Slight pause, as she considers the possibility that she just might be wrong . . . I am right, right?

I was at a complete loss.  How did Caroline figure this out when she hadn't even lost a TOOTH yet?!  My mind went into hyper drive while attempting to address Caroline's questions, as well as ease the fears of two very worried 4-year olds that are under my care for the moment.

Me: "Um, let's take care of your friends right now, we'll talk later."

I can't remember how long the girls wanted to stay and play after my daughter obliterated their childhood innocence, but I manage this lie: "Caroline was just "teasing" and of course, the tooth fairy and Easter bunny are alive and well . . . no worries, just go home and ask your parents."  I then barricaded myself in my bedroom and made calls to their mothers explaining what happened so they could continue "damage control" once their 4-year olds arrived home.

After her friends left the danger zone, I had a little chat with Miss Caroline.  I was quite impressed when she admitted her dilemma - that she couldn't figure out if the bunny was a "real" bunny, because then the eggs and baskets would be too big and heavy to carry in his mouth and he'll break teeth, and how could a bunny open doors anyway?  She also reasoned that a big bunny who looked like a human dressed in a rabbit suit was just too creepy to actually exist.  I thought, "right on Caroline - that is creepy."

After listening to her honest insights, I had no choice but to come clean. I told her she was indeed right, it's her parents that take care of the bunny duties and she no longer need fear of a giant rabbit stalking through our house. 

As for the tooth fairy, she flat out didn't think a little, itty-bitty, tiny fairy with translucent wings who lives with the other fairies in houses she makes in the garden with her friend Josh, would be interested in collecting teeth.  Plus, where did they get all the money to give away to little kids and why did they need teeth???

Well, it was quite a day, one I'll never forget.  However, after all the explaining and answering questions, and phone calls to other mothers, I forgot one minor detail . . . Ryan.  His response after walking in the door from 1st grade when bombarded with Caroline's exciting news:

"You're ruining EVERYTHING for me!!"

Poor kid.  Needless to say, we comforted Ryan and helped him see the light so we were all on the same page.  After that episode, we just debunked the Easter myths and figured it made no sense to keep them alive for the little girls, which has made our subsequent Easters absolutely delightful - no sneaking around hiding eggs and baskets, no children hyper with anticipation, and most importantly, more focus on the Savior and the beautiful reason we celebrate this holiday.  We still hide the kids' baskets and Chris provides the egg hunt every year, and they do look forward to a few little surprises from us in their baskets.  Sophie has been really great at keeping the secret, Liza on the other hand, not so much, just ask her kindergarten class last year.  Sigh.

As for Caroline, let's just say that I worked REALLY hard to keep Santa alive, but by the time she was seven, she had it all figured out . . .

Miss Caroline, age 4


Kelly said...

What a smarty! I love you guys. What a great family you are!

Kristin said...

That's it, she and Luke are made for each other. When he was 3, he decided Santa was not real, and thus ended his childhood. We also had problems w/ him sharing the secret, and my mother has never forgiven me for ruining his innocence. LOL. They are cut from the same mold.
(strangely though, he's back to acting like a 3 yo. Please tell me this is a phase...)
That picture is darling. Why can't they stay that way forever?