How Old is Too Old?

By Cathy Thurber

The Tooth Fairy is not real!  We finally have no more believers in our household that a small fairy comes to take your baby teeth back up to heaven.  My nearly 11-year old son at long last knows that the money does not magically appear under his pillow in exchange for his tooth.  He said to me the other day, “Mom, I could feel you putting your hand under my pillow….I know it was you!”  Even with my slightly innocent smirk and the, “I don’t know what you’re talking about” reply, he just didn’t believe me anymore.  And I wasn’t sad about him figuring it out, either.

Now, the Easter Bunny…..I’m not so sure about that one.  He may or may not still believe in that character.  Even though I kept telling my son for the last few weeks that no, the Easter Bunny does not put Xbox games or wireless game remotes in the basket no matter what, I’m not sure if he realized that I’m actually the Easter Bunny.  And this Bunny doesn’t spend $100 on a basket.   You get a movie and some candy and are happy with that.

My child does, however, still believe in Santa Claus.  Yes, the jolly old man who knows how to manipulate the space-time continuum and somehow fit himself down a chimney (even when there is no chimney) is still in the game.  My daughter actually believed until she was 12.  Well, I think at age 11 she was starting to not believe, but still felt it would be beneficial….just in case she was wrong.  You don’t want those extra gifts from Santa to just not happen anymore.  But now I keep wondering – is he too old to believe in Santa?  Will he stop believing this year or next year ….and should I start dropping hints?  Honestly, I’m unsure.  I know that many people think we shouldn’t even let kids believe in magical ideas like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.  But, I also think it’s a wonderful thing to give your child that sense of magic.  It’s just the problem of figuring out when that magic should end, and if you should be the one who ends it.  I truly think that eventually the child will figure it out when it’s the right time for them to know.  So, I may drop some random, vague hints every once in a while, but I think I’m going to leave it up to my son to figure out when it’s time for him to grow up.  And honestly, I hope that even after he figures it out he still pretends like he believes.  Some childhood magic is just too good to give up.

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