When The Oldest Child Tells You She Knows About "The [Easter] Bunny"
I'm driving in my car with my oldest daughter (only 9 1/2), and I've got Easter on the brain. It's time to be the bunny again and of course, it's the day before Easter and I've got nothing. I'm obviously quiet as I roll around some ideas in my head about when and how I'm going to pull off the visit to the store without any kids by bedtime.
My daughter (in her usual curious and observant state) could tell I was in thinking mode. She loves to break up my thinking mode. I don't know why (could it be that with four kids, it's an opportunity to get a little attention?), but it drives me nuts because my brain likes to think. A lot. When it gets interrupted, it's almost like I was just woken up from a deep sleep. It takes a minute to regain reality.
Back to Easter. So my daughter turns down the stereo and breaks up my thinking mode by saying, "Hey mom, what are you thinking about?" Original huh?
I think she said that same statement two more times (and quite a bit louder) before I returned from my trance and said, "Oh, sorry. Yeah, what's up?"
"What were you thinking about?" she asked again.
"Just Easter. What do you want from the bunny?"
"Really, Mom? You think I don't know about 'the bunny." She put 'the bunny' in quotation marks with her fingers (thank a lot Disney, I know that's where she learns this stuff).
I try to revamp her perception of "the bunny". "Yeah, and what exactly do you want "the bunny" to put in your basket?"
She turned to me and smiled. "A cell phone."
I laughed, even though I'm really annoyed, because I'm entirely too tired of this 'when can I have a cell phone' conversation, but I humor her. It was kind of clever to throw it in at that opportunistic moment. I also realized what it really meant. One down in the believer department. No more Santa, Bunny, or Tooth Fairy for her.
I rebut, "Well, I don't think "the bunny" can afford one more cell phone plan right now."
She argues, "Well, maybe if "the bunny" would give me the phone, I could pay for the plan."
"But not 10, and "the bunny" doesn't give 10-year-olds phones either."
She pouted as I took a deep breath and realized that it's starting. She knows "the bunny" is me and her Dad, and that means she is growing up. Sometimes, I like it that she is growing up, but it made me sad today. So, I did what I usually try to do when I realize she is growing up in a certain area of her little life. I try to embrace it. So, I took another deep breath and said, "So, you want to help tonight; be 'the bunny's' assistant?"
She smiled and squealed and jumped up and down in her seat. I drove through the green light and asked, "ShopKo or Kmart."
"Kmart," she answered, and I whipped on into a parking space.
That night, she could barely contain herself. She was giddy with excitement as she asked me every two minutes when everyone was going to bed so that we could "you know, do that thing (hand signals included)."
Well, good thing I had a helper, because the hubby fell asleep and I would have been solo. As she and I stuffed eggs to hide and placed everyone's basket out (including hers so she could pretend 'the bunny' came), I reminded her that it has to be our secret, because we don't want to ruin the magic of it all for her little sisters and brother. She pretended to zip her lips. We hugged. I cried.
I was woken up at 5:45am to small children asking me if they can hunt for the eggs the bunny brought. I said 'sure', even though I was thinking how painful it was going to be because it was so effin early. I started to get out of bed, slowly. My new assistant put a hand on my shoulder and said, "You stay. I got this."
I shrugged. "Okay." I said, and snuggled back into bed. Slept until 9am. It rocked. Maybe this is what other Mama's mean when they say, 'don't worry, it does get better.'
I decided that maybe it really was a good department for her to be growing up in (as long as she can keep her mouth shut). The grass definitely seems greener.