I’m still stewing about this…
How do you know when your child no longer believes in Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, but is faking it for the sake of the loot? I had thought that by age 9, the magic would be gone. But my oldest still plays along. I only think he’s just playing along. I honestly don’t know.
A couple of weeks before Easter, I had two separate opportunities where I was in the car alone with each of my kids. During the first, I was out and about with my 9-year-old and I asked him if he thought the Easter Bunny was going to visit this year.
Yes, I was fishing. I wanted to see if he’d tell me that he’s too old to believe in the Easter Bunny, that he knows better, etc. He did not. Instead, he named off the things he’d like the Easter Bunny to bring him. The Easter Bunny is NOT Santa and an Easter basket is not equivalent to a stocking. There will be no Pokemon cards or Lego packs waiting on the porch.
Later that week, I asked my 7-year-old the same question. He went into this long-winded response about how, at the very least, the Easter Bunny was going to bring him a stuffed bunny like he does EVERY year. He listed, chronologically, all the stuffed bunnies he’s gotten each year of his whole life and how his favorite one is the one he got last year, the little white bunny he calls Carrot (because of the carrot embroidered on his chest).
At the end of his story, he told me how much he wanted a RED stuffed bunny this year and how he was SURE that the Easter Bunny had one in that color to bring to him.
Over the next couple of weeks, my husband and I went to at least a dozen stores and picked through thousands of bunnies looking for a red one, to no avail.
We did find a solution: A RED Angry Bird with bunny ears sewn on. The boys love Angry Birds and we found this to be an acceptable compromise. We got the red one for the little guy and the yellow one for the big guy. We coordinated the baskets to match. We were set.
Until Easter morning came.
The sun came up, the boys woke up, the front door was thrown wide open. The Easter Bunny had come to visit!
But my 9-year-old chose the red basket first and my 7-year-old was left with the yellow basket. BACKWARDS! We reminded the little one that he had asked for a red bunny and that they should switch baskets. They did trade baskets for a few minutes, but our older son insisted that the red one was for him because that’s his favorite Angry Bird and that yellow is his brother’s favorite color.
Graciously, the little guy swapped back, saying he didn’t mind which one he got.
My husband and I were fuming. After all that effort and our clever work-around to the stuffed-bunny-failure - not to mention our 7-year-old’s compassionate response to the situation…
I honestly wanted to pull my son aside and call him out on whether or not he REALLY believed in the Easter Bunny. But I didn't because I knew I’d be doing it for the wrong reasons.
Next year I will LABEL the baskets. Something I’ve never had to do.