Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The House of Cards

My 8 year old is just like me.  Yesterday, I heard her in the other room telling my youngest, "Butter, it's not appropriate to say 'poopy head' to your friends.  That's 8 year old talk and you need to understand that not everyone in your class has older brothers and sisters.  You need to be a better example."  Awesome.  It's like having a back-up mom.  I think that this is fabulous (except for the fact that she was the one who taught him poopy head in the first place).

But last night, she started in with the honesty thing and I started to wonder if perhaps it would be better if she had a bit more of Julio and a bit less of me in her.  

Setting:  Family dinner---all 5 of us present

8yrold:  So it turns out there's no Tooth Fairy.
Me:  Pardon?
8yo:  Yeah, this girl at school did an experiment and found out that she doesn't exist.
6yo:  Yes, she does.
8yo:  No, she doesn't.  My friend has proof.
Me:  What was the proof? 
8yo:  Her tooth fell out and she didn't tell her mom and the Tooth Fairy didn't come.
Me:  Huh.  Well, maybe the Tooth Fairy forgot.  That's happened to you before (Yes, I totally forgot one night...okay, maybe 3 nights but whatever, she got her quarters and a really good apology note the next night).
6yo:  Yeah, she's forgotten with me too.  (Okay, I might have forgotten with him also but it was only the one time.)
Me:  The Tooth Fairy has a lot to do.  She's probably not perfect.
8yo:  Yeah, kind of like you, Mom.  
3yo:  Can I have more butter, pwease?
8yo:  Hey Mom, how come Santa has different writing every year when he leaves me a note?
Me:  How do you know that he has different writing?
8yo:  I kept the notes and compared them.  They are definitely different.
Me:  Maybe he types them on the computer and the fonts are different.
6yo:  No, I saw them.  They are handwritten.
Me:  Well, maybe his staff helps with writing the notes.
8yo:  Huh.  I don't think so. (long pause) It would be a bummer if there is no Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.
3yo:  More milk, pwease.
6yo:  Yeah, that would mean we wouldn't get money OR presents.
Julio (finally):  Exactly.  Better to keep believing.  Is there any more stew?

I am a fiction writer.  I like the magic.  But when do we come clean with our kids?  Montessori school is tricky because the kids are grouped in 3 year cycles.  That means that my 1st grader is exposed to 3rd grader insight.  This can be awesome sometimes, but it also can lead to the following:

6yo:  Hey mom, the F-word was written on the bathroom stall in Chinatown.  
Me:  How do you know the F-word?
8yo:  He heard one of the 3rd grade boys scream it really loud one day at recess.
Me:  What was he doing saying the F-word at recess?
8yo:  He was trying to explain what it meant to one of the first graders in my class.
6yo:  Yeah, but I couldn't hear what he was saying.
Me:  Thank God.
8yo:  Hey mom, what does sex mean?

Damn you, 3rd grader with way too much knowledge!  I'm going to be taking you to the Peace Table pretty soon.


Paige said...

There's a story right there. Hilarious!

cleemckenzie said...

Okay, I'm in stitches. What a great glimpse into the child you've shared.

MK said...

Julio is the bomb.com

Penny Linsenmayer said...

Yeah, tough to know when to come clean re: Santa and Easter Bunny. My daughter asked me point-blank in 3rd grade, and I did what I recall my mom doing and said, "Are you SURE you want me to be honest?" When she said, I told her the truth. BUT, I told her it was her responsibility to keep the story alive for her younger brother and not spoil his childhood. I *thought* I also emphasized not telling her friends, until I ran into a disgruntled mom in the grocery store who informed me that my daughter had told her daughter who promptly informed *her* younger brother that there was no Tooth Fairy. And since said younger brother had never experienced yet the wonders of the Tooth Fairy, this was particularly disillusioning! Fortunately, other Mom was able to come up with something about everyone having their own Tooth Fairy, and I had a talk with my daughter, who swore she told Friend not to tell Friend's Brother. Anyway ... it's complicated!! Good luck with all that.