24 April 2011

social commentary Sunday 'do you lie to your children??'

Greetings all,
As a parent, i found the exciting anticipation of sharing my childhood memories - the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus - as seen through my own children's eyes, as much fun as it was when i was the one checking for a coin in place of my tooth, an Easter Egg hunt & checking my Santa Stocking.
My mother still believes in all of the above, yes in her 70s & put up a good front to my father who loathed any praise going towards fairies, bunnies or Father Christmas in a passive aggressive fashion.  We ignored him, we kept up believing in the stories for our mother more than anything, it brought her such joy.  I get where Dad was coming from, once you've been up past midnight blowing up inflatable pool toys, construcing a trampoline & putting training wheels on new bikes with a torch in the dark of your garden, you kind of think, why should Santa get the credit??  My husband agrees & let's just say . . . Santa gives a token offering to our children . . . so like my father - my husband relishes in the glory of being an awesome gift giver.
So what's this 'lying' all about??  Sure my children have asked "is the Easter Bunny real??"  I say "i think it's a lovely story" & they're still happy with that.  To all of you with really little ones, beware, there is always some awful child at school with older siblings who'll take sheer delight in ruining your child's dreams.
I think it's a good lesson in children learning the subtle art of happy-white-lies & sweet-harmless-stories, they make you feel good. 
I never put too much thought into carrying on the tradition of the 'big three' until a mother at my eldest daughter's preschool (looong time ago) answered for her daughter - when i asked if she was excited about Santa coming (harmless small talk to 3 year olds in December) with "i don't lie to my children".  Oh wow, that was strong, harsh & blunt.  Fair enough, it's your child, but it did trigger my child to ask what a lie was & ask why Santa wasn't going to their house.  So in a way it opened up that "this is how we do things in our family" versus the differences in other families traditions, beliefs, religions & so on.

Anyway, food for thought, a conversation starter.  I promised myself to answer my children's questions as clearly & honestly as possible but still love these 'stories' even if the Tooth Fairy is sending us broke. 
Enjoy your chocolates, we went high quality/ low quantity this year as the children did request the Easter Bunny to stick to Lindt chocolate.  Sure, you get one egg each then + the mandatory Lindt bunny with a tiny egg hunt of those mini eggs.  Love Posie
EDIT: Thanks to Vanessa from NessaKnits for correcting my title where i had written 'like' instead of 'lie', which is a nice typo but wrong with a capital R.  Blame the chocolate & a speedy post effort in order to catch a gorgeous store across town before it closed this afternoon.  Shopping on Easter Sunday, i know, a gorgeous homewares store as religious as me, but i needed more oilcloth, it was an emergency.

18 comments:

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Wow, I had never thought of those lovely traditions being "lies" and like you, think of them as lovely stories to believe in. Long past we knew Santa didn't exist, into our adulthood actually, we still got a present from Santa just because it was fun. From memory, each year we only got one present from Santa and the rest was from the actual gift-giver.

Our little one is soon to be two and I had a great time setting up the house while she was asleep last night. Only one little (Kinder Surprise) egg and a few little bunny related presents, but the toys were set up for a tea party with sultanas for when she woke up. I love the idea of these traditions putting a little magic into our lives.

Actually, I'm not sure who was more excited this morning - her or me :)

TammyJ said...

Oh Jennie,
I said yes for Santa while Hubby persisted No he saw it as a lie carried from his childhood I saw it as Childhood magic I wanted my kids to experience. We do have Santa here. NoW this year with Easter we hit a quandary - we never did anything to perpetuate the myth of Easter Bunny but DD picked this up at School and as the believer in fairies latched on to this magic with joy. We lay out eggs for a hunt secretly but never said Easter Bunny did it and when she started to believe that we didn't say it wasn't true. So this morning when Son said Thanks Dad for hiding this egg in this cool place Big sister admonishes 'it wasn't Dad it was Easter bunny!' Younger brother looks perplexed and says in a confused way 'Oh was it?' While I held my breath. The moment passed. I don't want to lie to him now, but don't want to rip the magic of the myth away from her either ... Hmmm

Make mine Mid-Century said...

Yes, quite happy to lie as long as possible!

NessaKnits said...

(adjust the heading to read LIE and the answer is yes)

Timothy said...

Yes:)
Although the Bilby arrives here (and I kee messing up) Ask Tim - Rabbits are pests you see and he did want his children growing up celebrating them.
See you tomorrow.

Naturally Carol said...

Never needed to lie..the kids loved making nests for eggs..loved getting piles of brightly coloured cardboard containers covered in chicks and rabbits etc but always knew what Easter was really about in a Christian way. They always knew that it wasn't about a bunny but loved the fun of the story of him anyway.

Hot Fudge said...

Ah yes, we Fudges kept the magic going as long as possible. When it came time to tell middle child the facts about Santa, she took it reasonably well, looked plaintively at her father and said, "What about the Tooth Fairy?" A sad shake of the head. "I don't suppose the Easter Bunny ..." We still feel bad about it 30 years down the track.

Mama of 2 boys said...

I actually wondered about that today Posie... just how long do we keep up the charade of Santa, Easter Bunny etc?!
I can't believe the lady at your child's preschool, um... rudeness! There's always one in every pack.
Yes, Lindt is definitely our choccie of choice also, so smooth and creamy, YUM! I have had my fair share of those mini Lindt gold bunnies this weekend ;o)
Happy Easter Posie xo

Heidi said...

Well if they still believed in the Bunny I ruined it for them when at ten o'clock last night I said I have to get to bed because It's tough to be the Easter bunny I have to get up at 5 to hide the eggs!! Mimi looked at me and said oh Mom your silly! oh yes I am but at 5 am there I was this morning even our 15 year old still loves looking for the eggs! tradition is a beautiful thing for kids!
Happy Easter sweet Posie...

Conny's Cottage said...

Hello,

wath a very sweet bunny.
I love it....

happy eastern wish you Conny

greta @ topography said...

The only reservation I have is that I was very disappointed about Santa - not so much that he wasn't real, but that my parents had put so much effort in to it for so long (I must have been quite old as I did see it as a lie!) So far with Miss 4 we are playing along with whatever she picks up - Santa wasn't a huge deal but she talks about the Easter bunny a lot. Isn't it funny how the dads are against it - mine was the same to start with but is now ok with things all adults know aren't real, more worried about things some adults believe in (like ghosts)

MonetPaisley said...

Interesting topic, we don't celebrate easter, christmas, etc, but I am very careful to tell my girls not to wreck it for everyone else. Hope you had a lovely holiday.

Lizzie said...

Coming from a different era I guess I have to say that I agree with Melanie, I've never thought of them as lies..!! I remember growing up in England, the year my brother and I decided that 'Father Christmas' was really Dad, watching him through pretending to sleep eyes, trying to get our presents down from the loft. He'd been working Christmas Eve (musician) and was a little merry, so the antics of him getting three scooters down from the loft outside my bedroom door were hilarious, him clattering, Mum shushing with 'you'll wake the children comments'. Mum and Dad are in their mid 80s now, Mum suffering from Alzheimer's. I don't feel cheated or lied too, they made memories for me to cherish long after they are gone.
My grandchildren are split now, the older ones knowing while the younger ones believe in the magic still, yet not one of the older ones will burst the bubble for the little ones. They too have their own memories of childhood magic to cherish. No one actually told me, or my children, or my grandchildren that Santa, the tooth fairy and such don't exist, it's a part of growing up. Part of the joy of being a child. Children should be children and see the world through children's eyes, not the eyes of their older and wiser parents and grandparents. They should have childhood memories of joy and love to pass on to their children. Something to treasure ......

Sorry Jennie, long comment I know, but I believe in the wonder of childhood and that children should be children not small adults.....
Lizzie
(who still believes in the magic of Santa)
xxx

quilary said...

Yesterday my youngest (who is 11) said to me "last year I found out about the tooth fairy, this year the Easter Bunny...I hope next year it's not Santa. Actually I KNOW Santa is real"...I nearly cried because I know she is growing up, but she loves the magic and treasures the memories. I hope no-one spoils it at school this year, but I feel we are in for a delicate time!

moose and bird said...

Hello Posie,
I'm with you, these are lovely stories and who cares if they're little white lies. They bring happiness and so many great memories.
Hope you had a lovely Easter x

Mimi said...

Love the lies, the only little lies I have told my children! I know they will appreciate when they are older have children. (well hopefully they have children). Thinking of you today Posie. Mimi xxx

Bron said...

Yes, I don't like lying at all either. At the moment however, I do go along with 'the lies'.

But I grew up knowing none of it was true and I still enjoyed the presents 'from Santa' and the eggs 'from the Easter bunny' just the same. Knowing they weren't real didn't spoil my fun...something to think about with the wee ones going forward...

Happy Easter!

Stacey said...

If that's telling lies, then I'm a liar I'm afraid. I usually put those questions back on the kids themselves, ie. "do you think the Easter bunny is real?" I think the kids like to play along although deep in their hearts they know the truth.
I too prefer to look at it as a tradition, rather than a lie. Each to their own I suppose.