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No More Easter Bunny

Sad BunnyI wanted to write this up on Monday, but at least I'm getting to it before the end of the week...

My daughter had a revelation over the weekend. She realized the Easter Bunny isn't real. It happened on Saturday night. She asked my wife and I if we thought the Easter Bunny was going to come and hide our eggs. My wife's reply was to ask her if she still believed in the Easter Bunny (which maybe wasn't the best response, but oh well). My daughter said yes, but I guess it got her to thinking, and a few minutes later, she asked me if I believed in him. I hate lying to her, so whenever Easter Bunny and Santa Claus questions have come up in the past, I've always evaded the question, or told her she could still believe if she wanted to. She wasn't taking that this time, though, so I just flat out told her that I wasn't going to tell her if I believed or not. And when she pressed about if I hid the eggs, I told her that I didn't know. Well, she's too smart to not realize that I must know whether or not I'm the one hiding the eggs, so she had it pretty much figured out. I guess I was smiling a bit, too, which was the giveaway to her, and she went off crying to my wife who'd left the room by then. And the thing my daughter was most upset about, wasn't that there was no Easter Bunny, but that it meant my wife and I had been lying to her her whole life. We did our best to explain it to her, though, and by Easter morning she was happy looking for eggs that she knew I'd hidden.

So, this whole episode got me to thinking - why do we as a society continue to perpetuate the myths about the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and all those other make-believe holiday characters. When I told my parents about it, they told me that I wasn't "lying," I was "pretending." I don't buy that. Pretending is when both parties involved know what's going on. My daughter and I pretend together all the time. One party pretending something so the other party can believe it doesn't seem very honest to me.

My parents also told me, as have many others, that pretending in these things for the kids makes the holidays more fun for them. I don't know about that one. My daughter had plenty of fun looking for eggs knowing that I'm the one that hid them, and I don't think she'll turn her nose up at Christmas presents this year, either. Plus, kids have plenty of fun pretending in things that they know are fake, just for the sake of playing. So, do kids really have that much more fun around the holidays believing in false ideas than they would without them, and is it worth lying to kids to give them that fun?

I also find it interesting the reactions we've gotten from people when we've told them that our daughter figured out about the Easter Bunny. Most people feel bad for her, that she doesn't have the Easter Bunny to believe in any more. One of our friends was even upset with us for letting her figure it out. I don't understand why so many people have those reactions; I'm actually relieved that she figured it out - no more deception, no more tip-toeing around the issue trying to figure out ways to not directly lie to her, plus I always enjoy watching her grow and learn more about the real world.

I never really had a good reason to carry on the myth with my daughter in the first place. I did it just because I went along with everybody else. My parents did it with me; she gets it from school and daycare; our friends with kids do it with their children. I guess I didn't want to seem like a kill-joy. Looking at it now, though, I wish I could go back and tell myself to just be straight with her. She would have had fun around the holidays with or without actually believing in the fairy tales, so why lie to her in the first place.

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