"I like... unicorns."
Let me preface this little story by explaining that I have never, at any point, told my daughter that there is an Easter Bunny, a Santa Claus, or a Tooth Fairy. Other people did this and I opted not to be a buzz kill. It's not that I think these fun, innocent childhood myths are bad or wrong—it's just that I never saw the point in going out of my way to make them "real". Kids will believe in them until they don't, or until someone tells them the truth, and that's that. I was TRAUMATIZED when my mother, assuming I had it figured out at eleven years old, asked me if I wanted "to help put the boys' stockings together" in reference to my little brothers. I was all, "What the WHA!? Santa does that!" And she was all...
So yeah, I decided a long time ago that while I wouldn't be a Debbie Downer, I also wouldn't flip out if someone slipped in front of my kids or if they caught us in the act of putting gifts under the tree. I wouldn't be running around trying to make it look like reindeer had been on the lawn or rabbits had shit on the porch, and I wouldn't be rapid-firing colorful stories when the questions got too intense. When Bear would ask questions I would simply say, "What do you think?" Sometimes the questions got tricky, but I put a lot of thought into my word choice and it worked well.
Understand, I'm not judging parents who do like to make a big deal out of holiday myths. They're fun, and I don't believe their children's fragile psyches are being damaged because mom and dad tried to make childhood more magical. In my case, I'm just taking precautions. My poor kids will be screwed up enough by things I don't even realize I'm doing, so I have to minimize any known risks. :/
So anyway—the other day she asked me. In typical fashion, I said, "Well, what do you think? What makes sense to you?" She rolled her eyes and said, "Mom, please just tell me. Is the Easter Bunny real or do you make my basket?" Again, I asked her what made the most sense to her, and she said, "It just seems really weird that a giant bunny would hop around with baskets for all the kids."
Ultimately, after coaxing her into really giving it some thought, I told her that yes, I do make her basket. And when I asked her how she felt about that, she said, "Good," with a big smile on her face. She was excited when I told her that I will still be making her a basket every year and that she could now help with her brother's basket, and she understood when I explained that she should do the adult thing and not spill the beans to kids who might still believe.
As we walked into the bank, she said, "I'm not even going to ask about Santa Claus. A man delivering presents makes a lot more sense than a giant bunny, so I think Santa could be real." And then we had a good giggle fit over the mental image of the huge bunny bounding around with baskets full of candy and cheap toys.
And that was that. My baby gave up the ghost of the Easter Bunny and I felt a fresh, gray hair sprout at my crown.