Kiddo#3 learns surprises are tough

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, as a ton of incoming spam informs me. Consequently, after my Boring Prenatal Appointment yesterday (boring = good) I stopped with Kiddo#3 on the way home to get something special for my Patient Husband, who reads this weblog. (Hint: no guessing what it was.)

I instructed Kiddo#3 several times that this was a surprise, and we mustn’t tell Daddy until Valentine’s Day, when he would be happy to hear about his surprise.

I have to say, I hate the current climate. My mom would have told me it was a “secret” and I’d have kept it. But nowadays, unscrupulous people harm kids and tell them it’s a secret, so secrets are Bad. Surprises are Good. I had to correct myself several times.

Kiddo#1 helped reinforce this: “It’s a surprise! You can’t tell him!”

Kiddo#3 was distressed. “Can I tell Kiddo#2?” And he did, about a nanosecond after she walked in the door.

There’s no way, I thought. He’s going to tell Daddy the instant he sees him.

Lo these many years ago, for my Patient Husband’s birthday, I made a special trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up Virgil’s Rootbeer. It’s a special treat for him (microbrewed rootbeer!) and we seldom got it. Kiddo#1 was only three at the time, and he participated in the process with interest. At home, we hid it carefully in my sock drawer.

As we cleaned up after dinner that fateful night seven years ago, Kiddo#1 was trying (and failing) to recite a book. Whenever he got to a part he didn’t know, he’d start over at the beginning. I was losing my mind. I said, “Kiddo, why don’t you say something you thought of yourself, in your own words?”

He promptly turned to my Patient Husband and chirped, “Daddy! We bought you rootbeer and hid it in a drawer!”

See, I never told him birthday presents should be a surprise, and therefore I was the one who got surprised. We’re trying to prevent a repeat.

At one point last night, my Patient Husband came to me and said, “You’ll be pleased to know it’s a surprise.”

I looked up, startled. He added, “All he said to me was, ‘Daddy, it’s a surprise.'”

Poor Kiddo#3, working so hard. He’s so excited.

This morning, his first words were, “We can tell Daddy the surprise?” and I told him no, not today. Tomorrow. His face fell. Very, very tough for him.


About philangelus

Mom, freelance writer, novelist, angelphile, Catholic, know-it-all.
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One Response to Kiddo#3 learns surprises are tough

  1. CricketB says:

    I hear you on the secret thing.

    (Here’s a good secret: Watching the kids be excited about it is more fun than getting the gift!)

    We use “good secret” and “bad secret”. Good secrets make people happy. Bad secrets make people unhappy, and you have to tell someone so they can help get rid of the secret that’s making people unhappy.

    Have you read Katie Coombs The Secret Keeper? It’s a children’s story that has a nice take on the topic. It doesn’t cover horrible secrets, but does a nice job of less serious examples and how they makes people feel. Adults can see the thought that went into it.

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