One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said. "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.
We've tricked our son, too, but in a good way. We're taking him to Disneyland tomorrow for his 4th birthday. Thing is he has no idea we are within spitting distance of Disneyland. Probably not the best analogy considering spitting is so unDisneylike, but you get the idea.
We have spent the last seven days enjoying the sun and sand at San Diego's Mission Beach. When we started packing our bags last night, our son, Jack, asked if we were going home. My wife told him one of those lies that parents are allowed to tell. She told him that we going to a differrent part of San Diego to stay in a hotel for two days. He must think that San Diego is one big city, because he kept asking, "are we there yet...are we there yet?"
It's not easy going to Disneyland without your son actually knowing you are going to Disneyland. Our family, who are travelling with us--Grandparents, Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin have all sworn that they would not reveal the surprise prematurely. I think it was most difficult for the 9-year old Cousin to keep the secret, but he did a fine job.
Fortunately, Jack was asleep in the car when we drove past Disneyland on the way to the hotel. Then in the hotel he asked why there was a framed painting of Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the wall. I had to hide the monthly Disneyland calendar that the hotel places prominently for the convenience of guests. When we were swimming at the pool, I was afraid someone would ask if he went to Disneyland. They didn't. But I did have to distract him when we were walking back to our hotel room, and a little girl in front of us was carrying a Disneyland bag and wearing a t-shirt from said amusement park.
Later in the evening Jack and I were sitting by the pool staring at the stars and moon above. Through the trees, I could see the fireworks at Disneyland lighting up the night sky. I thought for sure he was going to ask about the fireworks, but he mustn't have seen them. A plane passed above, and I asked him where he thought it was going. "Maybe Disneyland," he said. To most, that may seem strange, but Jack often talks about Disneyland when playing make believe, and he likes to read the Disneyland park map before going to bed.
In his short life, Jack has already been to Disneyland twice. For whatever it's worth, it was unfortunate circumstance that led to his second visit.
Jack is now sound asleep, and the secret is still safe.