Thursday, April 5, 2018

How My 9 Year Old Found Out about the Easter Bunny (and Santa Claus)

I have worked very hard to keep the magic alive for my kids for the past nine years. Very hard. This past year I thought Jena might be starting to figure out Santa, but alas, ends up I was wrong. How did I find out? Because when the truth was discovered she was absolutely devastated. So how did that happen? I'm glad you asked.

Jena hunting Easter eggs at my parents' house, 2017

The day before Easter Jena blurted out "I saw the text you sent Daddy last night!"

Uh oh.

The night before Jason had been on shift. I had not had time alone to shop for the girls' Easter baskets, so I sent him a text around 11pm asking him to stop at the store on his way home to pick up stuff for the Easter bunny to bring.

And she saw it.

Here's where the added layer of parenting gets added.

She saw it because she was disobeying. She has been instructed numerous times to not read any messages on any adult's device. Jena's iPad had died, so in the morning I had given her Jason's old iPad to play games on. At some point she apparently opened the messages and read (at least) that one.

She flat out asked me, so when I had the chance I took her into her room, just the two of us, to talk it out. She was absolutely crushed. Then she asked if that meant Santa wasn't real either. Devastated.

Why the devastation? In her words, because it means "magic isn't real".

I tried telling her it was a different kind of magic, it was Mommy Magic, but she insisted, correctly, that it's not the same.

I gave her the option in the future of either:
    a) pretending none of this ever happened, and both of us going thru the motions as if it were all real, just like before, or
    b) joining in on the magic with me and helping to make things special for her little sister

I told her she could decide at any time, and she didn't even have to tell me. I would just know by her actions what she wanted to do.

I also told her to be sure not to talk about it with her friends unless she knew for sure that they already knew. I explained that lots of parents work really hard to keep life magical for their kids, and if she told them they would feel just as bad as she did now. I also told her she would be in big trouble if she ever told her little sister.

It was a really difficult afternoon, lots of crying over her new realization, but by that evening she was slipping me pieces of candy to put in her basket.

Of course we still had to address the disobedience that got her there in the first place, but she wasn't having it. She's been in a rather rebellious & disrespectful phase lately, and insisted on telling me that it was all my fault and I ruined her Easter because I should never have sent the message in the first place.

Because... of course. And because... she's nine.

But that is another topic for another time.

What about your kids? Have they figured it out yet? How did they find out?

As always, thanks for checking in!

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