My confession for today is that I have never really perpetuated the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Santa Claus fantasies with my kids.
First of all, in my defense, whenever one of my kids lost a tooth, they usually LOST the tooth. When they did manage to get it under their pillow, I’d fall asleep or forget to put a dollar under there and take the tooth, and so the next morning I would just give them a dollar. I remember once as a kid, I opened my mother’s jewelry box and found like eight teeth in there! I’ll never forget the smell that came out of there! I didn’t, at first, realize that this meant that there was no tooth fairy, it just kind of creeped me out that my mother was hoarding dead body part tissue thingies in her jewelry box. Ewwwww.
The Easter Bunny never made any sense to me even when I was a little kid. A huge Rabbit, hopping all around town on some bunny trail? Delivering baskets filled with candy and messy plastic paper strips to kids all over the place? I set up a basket for each child on the kitchen table before I go to bed, with some candy and a little toy or stuffed bunny. And quite simply, that’s as far as I’m willing to carry on this charade. I mean, come on. A rabbit? Really?
Santa Claus: AH! The holy grail of parental deception. Don’t get me wrong, here, I don’t sit each of my kids down at age 2.5 and explain to them that everything they’ve heard about a big fat jolly fellow who flies around in the middle of the night pulled by reindeer and giving presents to the “good” kids is not true. I don’t “kill” the idea of it all.
I’m not cruel. I just don’t PERPETUATE the fantasy. I use the concept to my advantage while I can. As in: “Don’t forget to be good, Santa is watching you!” But that doesn’t last very long, because I wrap all of the Christmas presents (even the big ones) and put them under the tree WELL BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE, so there is no reason for my kids to think that anyone broke into our house the night before and left them a bunch of stuff. Once I became a parent, I really thought that that idea would be somewhat disturbing to a little kid. And also, I must confess that I just wanted to make sure that ZH and I got all the credit for the gifts. Why should a fictional character become my kids’ collective hero the one time a year that I splurge on my kids and try to indulge their every wish?
Don’t get me wrong, people. I’m not saying that it’s not okay to lie to your kids. I just choose to deceive my children in much more original and unique ways. For example, when we are cooking supper, and one of the kids asks, “What kind of meat is that?” We respond, “Wild boar”, “Yak”, “Grizzly Bear”, “Ostrich” or something just as off the wall. They all eat whatever is put in front of them, no matter what we’ve told them it is. Sometimes you’ll even catch one of the little ones saying, “Mmmmm! This starfish casserole sure is good!”
How about you? Are you a parental perpetuator?