You don’t have to watch this video but it’s hear for reference: https://youtu.be/l7yMZGA2lzg
Basically the parents lie and tell the kid he’s going to a Broccoli Farm. It’s a bait and switch — they take him to the circus. Now, I’m not going to sanctimommy these people for doing a thing but I’m going to globally warn parents of why this turns out making you feel like a shithead before you do it. So you can either ward away from unsuspecting sad-faces or brace for them at your discretion.
My logic is as follows:
First, there’s no guarantee a ‘surprise’ bait and switch will end well. Ever. Kids can be miserable to spite you so any guarantees he shaped up and enjoyed the circus is bogus. Kids hold mean, nasty, horrible grudges if their personality and temperament blend so. I know, I was a child once. I wanted a chicken and they said they’d get me one — so they got me a fake one. My tantrum was so epic they took me home and I remember that one. I remember the rage. And this resulted in me getting… well, lots of chickens during various points in adulthood, but I digress.
Second, nobody cares the way you want them to care so don’t fuck yourself by using bad correlations that ruin perceptions of all things involved. This kid got excited because of broccoli and that’s cool — but now broccoli isn’t as cool as the circus which is unfair. I find broccoli super exciting — I find broccoli worms a form of awesome nightmare fuel. Why ruin broccoli farming for the circus? WHY? There is plenty of reasons to keep broccoli AND the circus separately exciting. Broccoli will crop up more often than the circus in your day to day life, too (unless your life is better than all of ours), so it’s easier not to associate that with the circus for one. But now broccoli has to stand up to the comparison of inflated cotton candy and stinky elephants and showmen. Broccoli and the circus shouldn’t be brought together and compared or it ruins all of it somehow.
Third, why try to impress a toddler with lies? To a kid this shit translates to a gypping. I mean, if I told you I was going to give you a million dollars and I had the clout to back that, and you thought I was telling the truth but then I only give you monopoly money you’d cry too. The concept of ‘surprise!’ in this context is lost on a four year old’s still developing brain and, at least in the usual scale of probability, you’re setting yourself up for tears and jeers. Why not just tell him you’re taking him to a surprise if you have to?
Fourth, every sanctimommy this side of right will tell you how evil you are and they might not be wrong (although they are still assholes). You’ve asked someone to believe something from the highest authority they comprehend and they trust you so they get excited on your behalf and to emulate what they have perceived is excitement about a specific thing told to them. Now you can’t be trusted to tell the truth and you’re a jerk for doing that. It’s confusing. You broke actual trust by lying and every sanctimonious mama bear will forever remind you that you are awful for it. You’re entering parental fuckhead zone. Now, sanctimommies might not be able to touch your inflated ego but the dreaded fact a kid has to get unscrewed to save a little face because you pointed out how deeply credulous a child is for trusting you will return to haunt you. That guilt trip rears up constantly in, oh, ten years or so… (I still remember that fucking chicken, ma. I remember you lied.)
Fifth, at some point this backfiring of your kids emotional response to what you expected will emphasize you aren’t as ‘cool’ as you once were. It will break your heart into a zillion little pieces when your hard work, your assumptions, and everything get the royal flush. That disappointment strikes and it’s all your fault — whether you wanted to internalize it or not. This is an inevitable possibility even on some non-lied-about journey — at some point something you plan or do or whatever will result in disastrous disappointment, dreams unfulfilled and tears shed with blame on their lips directed at you… But you don’t need to fucking varnish your own self-esteem coffin with the self torturing lacquer made of fibs and white lies that fell out of your own mouth. If you do, the guilt will feel like getting your eyelids sawed off by gnomes.
Sixth, your guilt will lead you to do terrible things to make amends — like… giving in to ransom demands to make them feel better…
So be prepared.