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While I was away last week, the kids had an Easter Egg hunt at school. But there was a crucial difference between what this meant to my four year old son and what it meant to my six year old daughter, as became apparent on the car journey home from the station the other day.
My son was telling me where he had found his egg. It was in a hole in a tree and he was slightly confused because he didn’t think the Easter Bunny would have been tall enough to climb up and pop it in, the Easter Bunny being no more the size of, well, a bunny.
This was puzzling him more so than his other question of the journey which was: ”Can Wombles climb?” Quite profound for a four year old, I thought, and I was pleased we’d moved onto the bunny dilemma because I was stuck for an answer.
”The Easter Bunny is taller than your average bunny,” I said. ‘Just like Yogi Bear is smarter than your average bear.’ I didn’t actually say that last bit but wish I had done.
Anyway at this point, the six year old piped up: ”My egg was in the sand pit because the teachers put it there.”
Has she already decided there’s no Easter Bunny? It seems so. To her credit, though, she didn’t attempt to get her younger brother to believe the same.
It got me thinking about how quickly the magic fades with little kids these days and how sad it is my two are so close to this point in their lives.
So I was rather shocked to read the comments of a woman responding to a ‘slummy’ mummy’s request for ‘slummy’ mummy stories by saying how she had taught her kids from an early age that there was no Easter Bunny or tooth fairy or – wait for it – Father Christmas.
She went on to tell them that they were just ways to get her to spend money she didn’t have. Except she then says she was able to save up enough money to send them both to private school.
This, she says, has paid off because she now has two ‘ambitious’ kids at university, one doing a pHd.
Excuse me but is there any logic between the two. Are her children doing so well because they have always known the stark truth about the world? Or maybe it is because they have grown up to realise they have been deprived of such magical times when they were little and now wish to conquer the world in defiance and also so they’ll have enough money to pay for therapy in years to come.
The ironic thing is that even if this woman was strapped for cash at the time (which I doubt), it doesn’t cost very much at all to hide a couple of small chocolate eggs in your garden or around your home for your child to find. Or to place a 10p piece under the pillow in exchange for a lost baby tooth. Or even to fill a stocking with some fruit and sweets and a comic or something that you may have made or bought from a charity shop or jumble sale. What sort of lesson are you teaching by saying these special occasions have to cost and that it is all just a con to get us to spend money.
But it isn’t – the total sum for all three events needn’t be more than a fiver and the magic you create in return is priceless. At first I was enraged by this woman’s comments but now I am just saddened by them and I hope her children will make up for it by bestowing all manner of magic on their own kids one day to make up for it.
For it wasn’t just her kids who learnt the truth. She goes onto say, with apparent glee, that although it didn’t cause problems for her own kids (yeah, right, wait until the therapy kicks in), it did cause problems for other parents who’d visit at Christmas or Easter and their kids would end up in tears because they’d be told by her kids that there was no Easter Bunny or, presumably, Father Christmas.
The woman even does a smiley face at this juncture (which did enrage me, actually).
At the time she was told that she was an awful mother and how she was depriving her kids. I don’t know about awful but she was certainly selfish. It’s one thing to tell your own kids such hurtful things but to have them tell other kids is just not on.
Her closing gambit on such criticism sums her up: ”(I find the other parents’ comments) hilarious when I see how my “deprived” kids have turned out.”
Well I say in defiance of this selfish woman’s misguided attitude that we all should do our utmost to spread a little bit of extra magic for our kids this Easter. You don’t need much money, just a sprinkling of imagination and a lot of love.