Saturday, February 11, 2006

Childhood Innocence

How old were you when you learned that some of the most magical beliefs of childhood were really fabrications, perpetuated by the very people who told you that it was wrong to lie?

(According to my mother, some of my nieces have asked for my blog address so just in case I have some 7-year-old readers out there, I'm going to keep this a little vague. I'm pretty sure that using words like perpetuated ought to slow them down but you never know.) I'm also fairly certain that any of my nieces or nephews actually reading my blog is another one of my mother's exaggerations but again, you never know.

My son lost his first tooth this afternoon and is now blissfully sleeping. He went to sleep well, confident that he had to be asleep before the tooth fairy would come to pay him for his tiny, beautiful tooth. His sister helped him to write a letter to put under his pillow too, asking the good fairy to leave his tooth for another week so he can show his Dad and the kids at school.

Magical times.

On the same magical day however, I had to remind/explain to my daughter that some people "out there" are sneaky.

I let her play on the internet on her own sub-account. (Which means I have set up every parental control possible as she too, is only 7.) I heard her tell her brother about some "superhero" game online and stood on the other side of the wall, listening. (I'm a bit sneaky, myself.) It was a quiz for kids on internet safety. I heard her asking her brother questions like "If someone online asks you to meet them, should you?" and "If you see pictures on the computer that you know your parents would not like, should you tell them?" I could not see the options she was given but it was great to hear "Yay! We got it right!" (Not so great to hear "whoops!" but it was only once.)

After that game, I took her brother upstairs for his bath and left her to her Hello Kitty search. Moments later, she kept yelling "MOMMY!!! COME HERE!!!" I was sure it was some new coloring page or maybe there was a new Hello Kitty movie out so while I planned to check it out, I wasn't in a rush to leave my son in the tub for the computer emergency. When I did arrive, she wanted me to know that SHE had won a NEW LAPTOP COMPUTER! The blinking ad at the top of the screen had told her so, and now she just had to fill in a few fields...

So, I had to explain that there are people who design these things to trick people and she should not fill out anything without checking with me first. "That's why I called you!" she answered quickly. "It said I WON but I only had 30 seconds to get the prize!"

What seven year old could resist that?

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