Sunday, March 21, 2010

choose your accomplices carefully

Anna's birthday is today, and since I knew I wouldn't be here, I thought it would be pretty great if I could enlist J in a conspiracy to give his mom a surprise birthday present from me. Awesome romantic idea, no? She's sad because I'm gone, a week goes by, and suddenly her kid pulls out a birthday present from me. Perfect.

J is 5, so I recognized the hazards involved. I figured:

  1. He could forget when Mama's birthday was.
  2. He could forget where the present was. (It's not a huge apartment and they only have stuff they use, so hiding it would be tricky.)

We had some time alone before I left, so I carefully said I wanted his help to make a nice surprise for Mama's birthday. We found a good hiding place, and drilled a bit on when the birthday was. And I checked later.

"Okay, when's Mama's birthday?"
"Is that tomorrow?" [It was Monday.]
"Nope, one week from today. Next Monday. Got it?"

I figured he might get the day wrong, or he might forget and I could just prompt Anna to ask him for her present.

Not knowing the child very well, it didn't occur to me that as soon as I left, he would immediately go and show Anna where her present is hidden, so she could be sure not to look there, and in fact to forget the location exists entirely, so that then she would be surprised.


I think he's all on board, though. Apparently out of nowhere on Friday he asked when her birthday was. I'm excited.


  1. He did remember. I primed him by telling him it was Monday on the way to school this morning. Pause. Then is it your birthday today, Mama? Yes. Then I can give you your present! Yep, after school.

    I'm looking forward to it :-)

  2. aw. the cockles of my heart are warmed.