C: "Dad, I think Mom knows you're getting her an iPod."
B: "What!! How could she possibly!?"
C: "Um, she sort of guessed. We were talking, and I think she knows."
B: "You know better! You know you can't say anything about a secret to her! She's like Monk-- she figures stuff out from almost no information! Well, maybe she doesn't really know. What exactly did you tell her?"
C: "She was looking really sad, so I told her she was getting the most AMAZINGly great Christmas present."
B: "WHAT!? Yes, you DID tell her!"
C: "What should I have said?"
C: "But she was looking so sad..."
B: "Yep, she's really good. Hrm... Okay, so she knows there's an iPod in the house. Maybe I can convince her it's for you, and then she'll be unsure again."
Unknown to them both, I'd bought them each used iPods on eBay. So I spent two weeks telling each that the iPod was a gift for the other. Christmas morning, Caitlan was surprised, but Xena wasn't really. She takes great pride in being inscrutable and in knowing exactly what's going on around her. It's a point of pride for her, to not be surprised.
I thought I had a fool-proof plan. I thought I was going to get to surprise her. But my loving children stepped in: "We want to help you buy something great for Mom. What will you get her?" Little did I realize that by accepting their dollars, I was placing the subterfuge at risk to subversion! They caved, they caved to her mind-reading powers!
Nearly a month of secret-keeping effort down the drain. Good grief. It'll serve them right if next year I just hand out gift certificates.