the Easter Bunny: hard to believe in, but let’s keep trying

When the Easter Bunny finally showed up at our Easter Egg hunt this past weekend, even my three-year-old could see through him immediately. “That’s a costume!” she bellowed to the toddlers in line. “I can see his hairy arms,” she added to me, sotto voce, and indeed she meant not the furry bunny arms, but the hairy and gold-braceleted man-arms sticking out from the too-short sleeves. 

I shushed Maggie, telling her she shouldn’t ruin things for the little kids. “I just telling them he’s not the real Easter Bunny,” she explained. “The real Easter Bunny is home getting ready.” 

“Yeah, where is the Easter Bunny’s home?” my six-year-old asked, as if he’d been meaning to ask that very question.  I rolled my eyes, because the Easter Bunny backstory is just so patchy I don’t know where to begin the backfill. (For more on this, please read my sister Mollie’s hilarious and scholarly exploration about “the total failure of imagination that is the Easter Bunny.”)

8-year-old Connor piped up: “Some people say there is no Easter Bunny! And no Santa Claus either! I’m starting to think Santa is Mom and Dad!”

I froze. This wasn’t the first time he’d thrown this grenade into a Santa/ Easter Bunny conversation, but in the past, he’d seemed eager to re-believe once I established that sure, there are kids who don’t believe in such things– but that’s because Santa, or the Tooth Fairy, or whoever, only visits the homes of those who DO believe. I went through all that again, for the benefit of his two younger siblings, but not for Connor. He knew. I could tell he knew. 
It was time to confirm his suspicions. 

When we got home, I sat him down on my bed. 

ME: So what do you think?
CONNOR: I’m not sure.
ME: Do you *want* to be sure?
CONNOR: (biting his lip) Yes. Is Santa really you and Dad?
ME: Yes.

He didn’t seem as crushed as I had feared.

ME: Did you already kind of know?
CONNOR: Yeah. Pretty much.
ME: You’ll still get presents.
CONNOR: Okay, good.

That seemed to settle it. 

ME: Do you… have any other questions? 
CONNOR: Yeah. Where DOES the Easter Bunny live?

So, to recap:
Man in red suit from North Pole? Fond fantasy. 
Giant bunny who fits candy for every child in the world (and their baskets) in one giant basket of his own? Apparently, still going strong.