The big moments of childhood sneak up on you when you’re not looking.
The age of seven is supposedly the age of reason. I know for sure it is the age of scrutinization:
Mom, why do I have to be nice to J. when he’s mean to me?
Mom, why do I have to eat the broccoli if it doesn’t taste good to me?
Mom, what if I don’t want to have babies when I grow up? How do I keep them from getting in my tummy?
There was a beautifully naive time when I thought things would get easier as PunditGirl grew older. Of course, on some level they are, but the quality of her interrogations has definitely been ratcheted up, especially as we get into the more existential issues of life.
But you’re never ready for them. Especially when you’re at the mall.
After some Spring Break errands yesterday, we decided to head to the mall to grab some pizza for lunch. I had forgotten that this is the time of year when the Easter Bunny who lives next to the nuclear reactor visits the mall for photo ops. You know the one — the bunny who is six feet tall, has unnaturally yellow “fur” and a strangely Chucky-like grin permanently fashioned on his face.
PunditGirl was transfixed and stared at the “Easter Bunny” for many minutes before I was able to convince her that Mommy really needed to go look at the pants on sale at Ann Taylor. Whining was part of the moment when I said we weren’t going to have a photo taken with the Easter Bunny (we already have more than one).
As she was lying on the floor of the changing room, Mommy searching in vain for a new pair of pants to accomodate the dreaded perimenopausal fat shift, PunditGirl said:
Mommy, that Easter Bunny wasn’t real. (pause for effect) The Easter Bunny isn’t real, is he? (next pause) You and Daddy are the Easter Bunny, aren’t you?
After many minutes of trying to ascertain whether she wanted the ‘real, real truth’ or not, I gave in and spilled the eggs. She didn’t seem surprised. Nor was I. After all, this is the girl who wondered at the age of five how the Easter Bunny gets in the house — if he doesn’t come down the chimney, how does he get in without setting off the house alarm?
You can guess what came next. As I was doing my best speed modeling of a few spring dresses, the inevitable follow-up question (she’ll make a great reporter) came, very matter-of-factly:
Mommy, you and Daddy are Santa, too, aren’t you?
Yup. That castle of magical lies, uh, I mean, stories has come a crumblin’ down. But, she seems to have taken it all in stride.
Interestingly, she didn’t ask about the Tooth Fairy. She’s a girl who likes to count her money, so why ruin that good thing?