The Realist

My girls (like many of your kids) started school yesterday. Olivia in kindergarten and Audrey in pre-k 3. Like many of you, I am in shock and disbelief that this is happening and that they are old enough to be in a real school learning real things and personing around like real persons.

First day of school!

As my husband and I walked the girls to the front entrance of their new school, we were greeted by smiling teachers, music and a giant wolf. Yes, Sonar, the mascot from the Hartford Wolf Pack was on hand to help welcome the students to a brand new school year.

Image courtesy of Hartford Wolf Pack

Our conversation went a little like this:

Audrey: Why is there a wolf here?
Me: He’s happy! He’s a friendly wolf here to welcome you!
Audrey: You didn’t tell me there would be a wolf.
Me: I didn’t know.
Audrey: I’m not talking to that wolf.
Olivia: {eye roll}

At pickup, Audrey was still obsessed with the wolf. I asked her how her day was. She looked around as we walked to the car and said, “Hey. Where did that wolf go?” I told her he must have gone home. “How did he get there? Can he drive? A wolf can’t drive, can he? Where does he live?”

Olivia, who had had about enough piped in, “He drove a car home to his house where he lives because he is a MAN AND NOT A WOLF. IT WAS A COSTUME.”

Olivia has always been a realist. She doesn’t buy into a lot of the magic that young children do and is a natural skeptic. We tried the Elf on a Shelf and she was immediately like, “Guys. This is a toy. It’s not real. Stop it.”

I remember listening to a conversation between her and her best friend on the way home from preschool last year during which her friend was explaining to her that once he loved his stuffed lion enough, he would become real. She replied, “No, he won’t.” Her friend went on, “My mom read me a book about a velvet rabbit and when the little boy loved him enough, he became real. I asked her if it was true and she said it was.” Olivia snorted. “That’s not possible. It is a TOY.”

I was mortified. I didn’t teach her this. In fact, we’d not yet read The Velveteen Rabbit and I’m sure I would have concurred with her friend’s mom that yes, indeed, it’s possible that your favorite stuff animal might turn real if you love it enough. They were barely four years old. I piped up that if her friend’s mom told him it was true then he was right to believe her. Olivia started to protest and I changed the subject.

She is going to be the kid who spoils Santa for her friends, isn’t she? I don’t want to lie to her if she wants to know the truth about things (the tooth fairy ought to be interesting in a few  months…) but I also don’t want her to tell other children they’re wrong for believing in them. What would you do in my shoes?

7 thoughts on “The Realist

  1. I don’t have any suggestions, but I really liked this post and I love those big backpacks! Marie’s idea of distraction and Sherlene’s “legend is … ” line are great ideas!

  2. We have totally wimped out in our house with some of these beliefs. Is Santa real? Well, the legend is…. Whether anyone knows for sure is a mystery. So far it’s working beautifully for Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. My son has even referred to God as the biggest mystery of all. So true.

  3. Oh my god I can’t stop laughing at Olivia’s response about the wolf! Thank you Olivia, for making my day. 🙂

  4. Stephanie, I always love your posts. They make me laugh, they make me smile, and they make me think. You bring up a great point- as our kids get older, the truth will eventually come out! for everything! I would’ve done the same thing you did- change the subject, or said, “WHO WANTS ICE CREAM!?!”

  5. Most kids in my experience are very protective of the Santa secret and don’t spoil it for other kids intentionally. I would handle it like most other things where kids have different beliefs than mine do “Olivia believes that her bunny will become real and that’s ok, even if you don’t believe that”. Although I did want to punch the Catholic kid that taught R that girls can’t marry girls. Took me awhile to break down that one.

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