Last summer we ended up touring with a magician named Tim Gabrielson. His wife was another Rebecca, and his "thing" is comedy magic, so we all hit it off really fast. Fabulous guy. We caught his very funny show at least twice, and Caleb was hooked. Now he wants to be a magician when he grows up (all the kids get a kick out of the similarity between the words "magician" and "musician"). He told Tim G. that and Mr. Gabrielson gave Caleb a kit to teach him how to palm a squishy ball--with the instructions and materials.
Jon was really into magic when he was young, too, and I played "assistant" a lot. It was really fun for both of us. I only learned how to do one trick on my own, though--palming a small object. So I tried to show Caleb how the trick worked. Only I couldn't get the squishy ball palmed right, so I used a coin, like Jon showed me. Caleb was impressed. I had to repeat the trick a lot, "blowing" the coin out of my hand and into the air, and then pulling it out of their ears or heads or pockets. Then I told him maybe Uncle Jon would teach him how.
So when we went to Utah in December, Caleb asked Jon. And Jon showed him exactly how the trick worked--and all four children there still believed that Jon was magically making the coin disappear and reappear in their ears or whatever.
So just a couple of days ago, I showed Caleb again how the trick is done, and explained it, and didn't try to hide it at all, and he STILL believed that if I would just blow on it, then the toy would really disappear. Magically.
No matter how much we explained, showed, illustrated, and revealed the trick and technique, Caleb refused to believe in any but the most magical reasoning. We've never really done the Santa thing (never really NOT done it either--we just have avoided the whole issue), and Caleb believes in Santa, too. It's amazing. Something in him really WANTS magic to be real, so much so that no other reasoning will suffice. I understand the feeling. That's a major reason why I write. When I write, I get to live in world where not only does magic exist, I get to set the terms for it and then play with them. I get to continue to "Play", the same way Jon and I did when we were kids--doing magic, chasing bad guys, and making up stories that we could live to our heart's content.
I suppose I could go into all kinds of analysis about belief versus science versus reality, and people (in all camps) just seeing what they want to believe.
But I won't. I don't have the energy.
Daniel seems to have caught the bug, too, though. Today he put a toy barn on my lap and hid a train in it. Then he signed to me, "Where is it?" I said, "Where is it?" back to him, and he immediately blew on the place he hid it and then, with a flourish and mock surprise on his face, he produced the little toy train. I guess Daniel understood the reality of it better than his siblings.....