Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Santa Situation

I'm proud to say that Prince #1 and 2 believed in Santa longer than the average kid.

When Prince Tim was 10 he fixed me with a hard stare and said, "Mom, are you and Dad Santa?"
"If you believe, you receive my friend!" I shouted with all the merriment of St. Nick.
"Mom. Tell me the truth. You have never lied to me."
To this day I have no idea how I kept a straight face. Never lied to him?!? What a riot!!
"Okay Tim, Santa really is me and Daddy."
He looked like I had just told him there is no Santa. Well, I had and I'm here to say that that deflated look is why we use that phrase. Oh the agony.
He then turned his puppy eyes at me and asked, "Ummm..Easter Bunny?"
"Me and Dad, kiddo."
Now he is clutching at straws.
"Tooth Fairy?"
"Us too."
He took a moment to compose himself. "Okay, Mommy."
"Honey, look at it this way. Now you get to help us play Santa for Matthew and Christopher. And anyway, think of the logistics. Visiting all the kids in the world in 24 hours? Where would he get the raw materials to build toys at the North Pole? And let's not even get started on fitting down the chimney."
With the promise that he would get to stay up late and eat Santa's cookies he joyfully jumped on board.

Prince Matthew is a sly cynic when it comes to such things. He busted my sister laying down the Easter Bunny's jelly bean trail when he was 8, thrusting him into early adulthood. He played along, covering his bases in the off chance that the believe and receive thing was true.

Last year the youngest prince definitely believed in Santa. Christopher said to my sister, "Aunt Marian, I know there is a Santa. There is no way Mom and Dad would have bought me this cool stuff!"

This year Prince Christopher is 10, his Kringle convictions have been put to the test, and he is torn.

I saw a letter to Santa on his desk.
"Dear Santa,
May I please have for Christmas a Buzz Bee Toys Hawk Dart Blaster and the happiness of Jesus to be in everyone's heart.
P.S. Are you real?"

This week I looked up from my computer to see him holding his Christmas present in his hands. Clutching the Lego knock-off army base (1,000 pieces inside!) he looks at me with a sly grin. "What's this Mom? Hmmmmm?"

I honestly don't remember what I said. Probably something along the lines of "What the heck were you doing under the bed in your brother's room? Put that back right now!" I know that was a perfect time to come clean but I just couldn't do it.

This week he told me about the raging Santa/Mom and Dad debate at school. He hedged when I asked him if he wanted to mail his letter. The boy has great doubts. And so do I.

Where is the line between telling your kid the truth about Santa and setting him up to get pounded on the playground because he is naive to still believe? I might want to cling to the idea that he is still a little kid but the price is high. The gifts he discovered are now from his brothers and I get to shop all over again.

I'm sure that the closer we get to the 25th the closer he will get to the truth. It is a bittersweet rite of passage, another step away from kid-dom on the way toward tween-dom.

But I have faith that, Santa or not, his wish will always be for the joy of the season to be in everyone's heart.

1 comment:

Dawniepants said...

Gosh what a minefield! I don't have children but I do remember the whispers that 'mum and dad are santa' in the playground.
I remember how my little pigtailed counterparts were filled to the brim with elicit knowledge and very cocksure of themselves.
Any surprise and upset had to be done internally as you had to feign prior knowledge that santa didn't exist.
I always feel sad when I remember being told santa wasn't real, it is such a lovely thing to believe in.