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Monday, May 04, 2009 :::

Planetdan: Destroying Childhood Innocence Since 1981

Note: This post is not suitable for young innocent children, as it contains what some may consider to be some pretty major SPOILERS.

A few weeks ago my friend Stacy and I were talking about what the Easter Bunny would be bringing her six-year-old son this year. She tends to go overboard a tad (she thinks the Tooth Fairy's going rate for a cuspid these days should hover around the twenty dollar level), so I was curious to learn what kind of exorbitant bounty would be found in her son's Easter basket this year.

Also out of curiosity, I asked her how long she would be participating in the whole Easter Bunny charade with her child. She said she wasn't sure, but that she actually did feel a little funny perpetuating the myth that a human sized rabbit was hiding eggs around their house once a year - especially to her own child who seems to be a little ahead of the curve, intelligence-wise. I randomly advised her that if he actually ever asked her about the legitimacy of the Easter Bunny - or any other similarly preposterous holiday invention - that she should just be honest and come clean. Those lies can only hold up for so long anyway. She half-heartedly agreed, with a little apprehension, probably pre-mourning the inevitable loss of her only son's childhood innocence.

In an attempt to convince her, I told her about the vivid memory I have of the summer of my own sixth year in 1981. I don't recall what sparked it, but one day I had the sudden realization that Santa was a sham. I walked up to my mother, who was ironing my father's work shirts at the time, and asked her flat out: "Is Santa real?" She replied, "no." I don't even believe she averted her eyes from her task at hand to shatter my childhood illusions. It really was that simple.

From that point on I always felt sorry for the kids in my class who still believed in Santa. They seemed naive and foolish to me. Those judgments even stuck with me throughout high school. I remember one girl in particular - whose name I will withhold out of privacy - who chastised me vehemently for being a nonbeliever. We were in the third grade, and at that point it seemed absolutely absurd to me that she was so convinced of Santa's existence. I don't know when she finally caved, but when we approached high school graduation nine years later I was surprised she had made it through school that far - having always judged her solely on her abnormally late acceptance of the Santa fallacy. I often wonder what conspiracy theories she is buying into today.

But back to the story at hand, it was only a couple fateful days later when Stacy's son questioned her about the Easter Bunny. Apparently an older childhood friend had clued him into the reality of the situation, and he ran back to his mother hoping she would not validate his older friend's shocking revelation. But remembering our recent conversation, she decided to keep it real and told him that the Easter Bunny was an invention for children, and that only big kids like him got to know the fun secret of the Easter Bunny. It was a nice spin on things, I suppose, trying to make him feel special. He seemed to take it okay, but knowing Stacy she probably felt like she was slaughtering his innocence.

Then a couple days later, his teacher asked his class to write a personal Easter story, and this is what he shared with the entire class:

To translate: "I don't believe in the Easter Bunny!! I mean, the Easter Bunny is not real. Your mom and dad hide the eggs. Not the Easter Bunny."
Notice the crossed-out bunnies around the peripheral.

I feel slightly responsible.

Stacy was a bit upset with me. I'm not sure why she ever listens to me anyway. I have little experience in anything whatsoever except making a fool out of myself.

::: posted by dan at 12:12 PM :: [ link ] :: (16) comments Social Bookmark Button

Comments are Closed On this Post

16 previous comments:

Am I vain that all I could focus on in this post was my mickey mouse pillow hands...why do they look like that?

I am scared how your readers are going to judge my parenting skills ... I typicaly feel I am a bit more in the know about how/when is the right time to approach childhood rites of passage such as this,and i also felt it was nearing the right time to clue him in,but I neglected to think about the brashness of six year olds ,and the lack of understanding as to why it was not his place to educate the entire 1st grade class on the subject that day in show and tell...

for some reason I always think of Dan as omniscient in all things...this whole situation at least made him seem a bit more human to me:):)

By Blogger Stacy, at 3:53 PM  

You always hear it from the other kids first.

Dave B., one year older, related the details of sexual intercourse to my friend Steph and me the summer after second grade using Steph's dad's hidden garage cache of Playboy magazines as visuals. I thought he made-up the whole repulsive story until my mother tried telling me the same tale the following winter when explaining where babies came from. It was all I could do to keep from running from the kitchen table screaming.

By Anonymous Canada, at 4:51 PM  

Man, that was quite a jump. From bunnies to sex.

But then, I guess they do sort of go together.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:19 PM  

just stopping by to reiterate that you, dan, are THE MAN, man.

LOLZ! (disclaimer: I'm not 14, so LOLZ is still cool. Or not. Whatevs. Refilling wine glass in 3...2...annnnd 1.)

By Blogger Patent Absurdist, at 8:08 PM  

Dan's an ass.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:46 AM  

I am not sure I remember ever believing in the Easter bunny. I think I came out alright.

Stacy, honesty is a great policy with kids, you didn't steal any innocence from him.

By Anonymous sarah, at 11:33 AM  

It could have gone either way. I found out about Santa in Kindergarten when I was 5. A kid at my table told me he wasn't real and we argues. Then I went home and asked my Mom who told me the truth. My reaction? "You liked to me!" And I ran crying from the room. My mom says I didn't speak to her for days and if she tried to tell/say something to me, I replied with... "LIAR!"

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:14 PM  

Stacy did the right thing in my opinion. The kid's "essay" really made me laugh though.

~Ginger in Utah

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:28 PM  

We had the easter bunny conversation with our 9 yr old daughter the night after. So she got to egg hunting and get presents, then I decided to break it to her before she went to school the next day.

She was pretty cool with it - the notion of a big bunny was pretty silly in her eyes.

I actually presented it as there are some things that we don't know are real or not (she believes in fairies, angels, ghosts) but some things we know are not real because parents keep them going. Easter bunny being one.

Then she mentioned tooth fairy, and i told her that was me. that prompted buckets of tears because she really wanted to believe that.

So far, no mention of santa. I assume she'll figure that out on her own.

This is a good topic for discussion among parents and non-parents. You POV really does change as your child grows and you keep some of these things going for them.

By Blogger John, at 3:50 PM  

Stacy and Dan... we NEED a follow-up as to what the teacher SAID after this was shared in Show and Tell!

Brilliant as ever Dan... I'm still laughing at this post!


By Anonymous Princess Melany, at 6:32 PM  

Where is my Friday Animated GIF?

My verification word is retro.

By Anonymous sarah, at 3:38 PM  

Dear Dan,

On behalf of all of your adoring fans, I'd like to say that we realize that you have a job & a life & real "in-person" friendships plus all those exotic vacations that keep you very, very busy. However, when you go for a while without posting, some of us worry that you're ill or might have been in some terrible car accident or maybe some internet stalker tracked you down, kidnapped you, and has made you do the Tony Horton video in their basement. Maybe the squirrels finally made their way into your house & have gnawed through all of your computer wiring. Whatever it is, we don't know & we worry about your well being. On top of that, we're also selfish & lame & we look forward to your daily trials & tribulations to entertain us. So, please, throw us a crumb on occasion & don't make us wait for over 2 weeks to laugh & live vicariously through your adventures.

Thanks, Your loving & loyal fans.

By Blogger otimak, at 10:12 PM  

I WAS going to track him down, kidnap him, and has make him do the Tony Horton video in my basement.

But you have ruined the surprise.

Other than that I ditto the above comment

(a LONG time reader and never before poster...possible stalker)

By Blogger Patton, at 4:48 PM  

I miss my Dan. I'm sure you're busy but ditto the person who said we worry about you. you have no idea how happy it makes me (and many other adoring fans) when I see a new post.

PS my verification word was recharo. Is Charo still alive?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:03 PM  

I'm not a huge blog reader, but this is probably one of the 15 or 30 funniest blogs in the Internet.

By Blogger Leon, at 9:00 PM  

/on the Internet?

Word Verification: frariciz - The rare apple found only on the Cote D'Azur

By Blogger Leon, at 9:01 PM  

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