Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Why the Lie?

Maybe it’s just me, but I love perpetuating the myths of the Easter Bunny, Leprachuans, the Tooth Fairy and others with my kids. These fantasy characters were a wonderful part of my childhood that I love to share with my own kids. They ARE childhood.

And of course like with our own childhood, they will grow-up and their belief will be overtaken by reality and skepticism.

I may not like to admit it but I do know someday my kids will stop believing in some of these characters, if not all of them. It’s a sad reality. I’ve even started to notice some doubt in my 8-year-old daughter (though some things I’ve done haven’t helped). So what happened on the weekend shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise.

My 8-year-old lost another tooth. She placed it in the Tooth Fairy jar (we have a small jar with little fairy sitting on top) and placed it on her dresser that night. Before I went to bed I took the tooth and replaced it with money (Yes we leave money. That’s a different blog post to deal with).

The next morning we slept in. I was surprised my daughter didn’t rush in telling us about the funds the Tooth Fairy left behind; she would usually do this, waking us up at the crack of dawn. I thought perhaps she had forgotten to check but when I went by her room I noticed the Tooth Fairy jar was empty.

So curious, I asked my daughter:

me: Did the Tooth Fairy visit you last night?
8yo: No. Well, yes. She came and took the tooth but left no money.
me: Really? Are you sure? Did you check to see if it fell on the floor?
8yo: I looked everywhere, no money this time.

My daughter proceeded downstairs as if nothing happened. Now I know in the past I’ve been negligent about the Tooth Fairy’s visits but I know I took the tooth and left the money. I know I did.

It’s obvious she took the money. What I couldn’t figure out is why she wouldn’t admit too it. She still gets the money. My only thought is she was testing me. She’s probably already figured out that the Tooth Fairy isn’t real; that mom and dad replace the teeth with funds. Maybe she wants to see my reaction, see if I admit that the Tooth Fairy left the money, because I left it.

But I can’t bring myself to admit it. I can’t be the one to break the fantasy. She may have her doubts and that’s fine but I don’t need to be the one to confirm it. We still have two younger kids who haven’t even experienced the Tooth Fairy yet. I don’t want them to be jaded before they’ve even lost their first tooth. I don’t need my 8-year-old in a fit of anger with her brother or sister to blurt out ‘And the Tooth Fairy isn’t real. Mom leaves the money. She told me so.

Even when my 8-year-old returned with substitute Tooth Fairy money from her dad (trying out her story on him too I suppose), I still kept tight-lipped.

The fact that my daughter had doubts about the fairy didn’t bug me so much. Even testing her doubts to see if I or her dad would fess up didn’t bother me much either. I have to admit it was pretty ingenious. The ongoing lie was bugging me. Okay, she did her test and didn’t get the result she wanted. Now she should admit to the money being left, say she found it after all. The fact that she kept telling the story and on top of that accepted additional money from her dad, these things bugged me.

Eventually my daughter felt guilty and admitted that she did get money (though she admitted to her dad and not me). In return she had to work with her dad in the backyard building a shed before the rain arrived. We also agreed that perhaps the Tooth Fairy not leaving money for my daughter (see, I had to still believe the original story since I wasn’t suppose to know about the confession) was a sign that my daughter was too old for Tooth Fairy visits. Any teeth left to fall out could just be tossed and we wouldn’t have to worry about the ritual anymore,  until her brother or sister get bigger.

I knew I would be disappointed when my kids were old enough to not believe in some of the childhood fantasies we’ve brought them up on. I guess I didn’t know the lesson would hurt me so much.

Write a Review Wednesday: So Close

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Hammond’s Princesses of the World. This week we review Tundra BooksSo Close (age 4-7), written and illustrated by Natalia Colombo. I have to thank Sylvia at Tundra Books for my review copy.

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Mr Duck heads to work every morning.Mr Rabbit heads to work every morning. Every morning they pass each other without saying a word. What a difference one little word can make: Hello.

Before going much further I have to say I fell in love with this book, So Close, before I even started reading it to my kids; I love how Natalia has illustrated Mr Duck and Mr Rabbit (the only characters in this short story), as well as her whimsical interpretations of trees and cars and the world that Mr Duck and Mr Rabbit live in. The story is short and very visually based.

But don’t let the size of the story in So Close fool you, the message itself is big. Mr. Duck and Mr. Rabbit pass each other every day, walking, in the cars, on their bikes. The see each other in different moods but never say a word to one another. Until one day. The simple greeting of Hello changes Mr Duck and Mr Rabbit’s lives forever. They walk together, eat lunch together, talk and play. What a difference one simple word can make.

So Close is a wonderful message for kids. Fortunately my kids are very extroverted and say Hello to anyone who will listen. And just like So Close, you can see the impact right away when you do simply say Hello to someone, a smile, a Hello back.

The story is aimed for kids 4 to 8, but my 3-year-old loved the two characters. And the message is a concept kids can learn and appreciate at a young age. So Close would be a great book to give to someone starting school too. Imagine how easily it would be to find a new friend with just this simple gesture.

Want to add a copy of So Close to your own personal library, visit your independent bookstore or Tundra Books. Looking for other great reads for kids? Checkout previous Write a Review Wednesday posts.

We believe in Santa Claus

santalooking

Discovering Santa 2008

There’s great excitement in our house this week. We’ve just discovered that the cities big Santa Claus parade is this Sunday. Yes, it is only mid November, but that means we can jump right into the Christmas season that much sooner. The walk to school consisted of the kids talking about what they were going to ask Santa Claus for (we’re writing letters this week to give to Santa at the parade).

I love seeing my kids so excited; they’ve already started being extra nice to each other. Flyers now have big holes in them from the kids cutting out pictures to include in their letters. I know one day their belief in the jolly fat man will wain so I’m enjoying the moment while it lasts. I can’t imagine what Christmas will be like without Santa Claus. Sure we’ll still have baking and songs and cards and gifts, but something magical will be missing.

I know there are many people who don’t believe in Santa Claus. My sister’s family celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. We do as well and my kids understand the real purpose of Christmas (for us), but I love having the fun part of Santa too. 

Some people don’t believe in any of those fantasy characters, like the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny or leprechaun.

Since these characters aren’t real, why fool your kids telling them they are. One day they’ll discover the truth and be devastated.

Yes, that might be true. There will probably be some tears on the day my kids realize the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus aren’t real; tears from them and myself. But the years of enjoyment we get from these beliefs far outweighs the disappointment to come (I say now, though I haven’t yet hit that disappointment stage yet). Am I really doing such a disservice to my kids by letting them believe? Isn’t childhood all about imagination and fantasy and all the stuff we lose when we move into adulthood. Somehow having my kids believe in these characters makes me believe, just a little. And believing in a fairy who rewards children as they move from babyhood into childhood or a jolly man who encourages being nice and taking care of others seems to fill my heart with love and understanding and everyone can benefit from that right?