We started something recently with my three-year-old that we are already regretting.
She announced to us that she was going to be a magician. First, she dons a pink cape that she calls her "magic cape." Then she hides an object — a small toy, a teacup, a ball — beneath a straw hat on the floor. She closes her eyes and waves a broomstick (the poor man's wand) above the hat.
"Abracadabra, Alakazam, make the toy disappear," she says repeating a line, no doubt from a cartoon.
Quickly, one of us, usually me or my older daughter, takes away the object and hides it behind our back.
"I did it," she screams, "I really did it. I'm magic!"
Then she repeats the process and we return the object beneath the hat. She is equally delighted when she removes the hat and sees that the object is back in its original place. The only caveat is that when we're not in the room and she tries to do it, she gets extremely frustrated.
"It won't work, Mommy!" she yells from her bedroom.
This immediately guilts one of us (usually me) into running from the kitchen back into her room and assisting in the process. After all, I can't bear to see her heart broken.
Of course, I am very careful and quick with my hands so that she does not uncover the ruse.
The other day, the magic trick was on me. Apparently, I wasn't quick enough or her eyes were not shut tightly, and she saw me remove the object.
"Mommy," she scolded. "You got to be faster. You can't let me see you do it or you will ruin the magic!"
The real magic here is that she fooled of all of us into believing she believed and in the process made us do what she wanted us to do. This is the mark of a true magician.