Monday, December 18, 2006

Yule Tide Tsunami

Well... Tough night to be a parent.

This evening, Middle Child FOUND OUT. He found out that thing about the fat guy with the white beard and black boots. That thing that no kid who loves Christmas likes to discover.

I don't know whether children read this blog, so I'm not elaborating. Adult readers: Draw your own bad conclusions about what Middle Child learned tonight.

He's eight, but we were hoping he'd enjoy the hefty bearded one in red for another season.

Worst part: He learned it from a six-year-old neighbor, who also spoiled it for two other kids, a four-year-old and his two-year-old brother.

As Best Man and Godfather would say: Once it happens, you can't put the shit back in the horse.

I've had rough nights as a parent. Believe it or not, this ranks among the most difficult.

Middle Child is smart. No, I mean, really, really, really smart, and not smart in the way that all parents think their kids are smart. I mean: Really smart. So he was bound to figure this out.

Once the first domino fell, the Tooth Fairy and a certain egg-hiding rabbit crashed to Earth as well. I keep telling myself that this is a good thing, and then I look at Middle Child's face, and he's distraught.

It's not a good thing.

But it's a rite of passage. One I wish he could have figured out in his own time. I'm not going to wring my hands and lament that he's lost his innocence (he hasn't). I am, after all, supposed to be realistic.

Except: I remember exactly where I was, (the night before Thanksgiving, with my Dad, coming home from family swim at the old gym in Cooperstown on the Hartwick-Index Road) when I learned it for myself. And I know exactly how I felt. I saw that identical expression on Middle Child's face, right before he cried.

This is the kid who moons strangers and tells sophisticated fart jokes, if fart jokes can be sophisticated (he'll show you that they can). This is the kid who, at two, beat up a couple of seven-year-olds because he didn't like how they were treating his (then-seven-year-old) brother. (Remembering his swan dive off the porch and into the fray makes me laugh out loud even as I write this.) This is the kid who has better timing than the best comedians, coupled with an inborn sense of right and wrong that would impress any jurist or Talmudic scholar.

He makes me laugh every day. He inspires me with his strength. And tonight, I let him down.

I know we all talk about how important it is to tell our kids the truth when they ask us serious questions.

Tonight, I should have lied.


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Blogger Kelly said...

I've been wondering about "that" moment to. Son is close to finding out but I know he'll ruin it for the Diva.
Just remind him some don't know yet. :P
Oh and yes fart jokes can be sophisticated....

11:07 AM, December 19, 2006  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

I think you're a pretty dang good parent, so don't be too hard on yourself.

He sounds like a great kid.

4:13 PM, December 19, 2006  
Anonymous bmag said...

You know, once it happens, you can't put the shit back in the horse. Sounds like a book title or something El Senor would say to me...
Yep, and I dodged that bullet earlier this week when my 7 year old brought home the question about parents buying all the presents. Seems a friend in school, the youngest of 12, (yep 12) spilled the beans. We chalked it up to confusion in the house with so many people. Thankfully my blondie bought it hook, line and sinker. So don't beat yourself up too badly, lying about it doesn't feel that great either, but we wanted at least one more year of blissful ignorance. Besides, its the 4 year old that worries me, she's already got most of it figured out and is playing along for her big sister's sake.

8:10 PM, December 19, 2006  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I lied. I continue to lie. I keep telling the kids they'll find out for sure when they're 18 and they won't BELIEVE what the real truth is.

They don't believe me. They think they've figured it out.

Most of the time.

You can take it back, Adam. You really can. Or at least instill enough doubt to keep the magic alive.

Whatever you do, don't worry. You're a great Dad with great kids.

1:24 AM, December 30, 2006  
Blogger Elizabeth Krecker said...

The Teenager-Formerly-Known-As-Pumpkin found out when he was seven.

"Mom, I've got something to tell you."

"Yes, dear?"

"You're not going to like it."

"It's ok, honey, you can tell me."

"Well, Mom...I know this will make you really sad but I found out that there's really not a Santa Claus, so you'd better start shopping like all the other parents."

"Honey, of course, there's a Santa Claus. How do you think we can afford to buy you all these presents?"

Somehow, that made him feel better.

9:06 AM, January 06, 2007  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

Elizabeth wins!

Best "I found out" story ever.

9:16 AM, January 06, 2007  

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