Friday, December 01, 2006

mommy is there really a Santa Claus?

On the heels of yesterday's blog I've been doing a lot of thinking about the Santa question.

Like many parents, I am sure, the choice of whether or not to fall into the santa myth with K was a hard one. Ultimately we decided not to lead our child on. I remember her very first Christmas... she was 9 months old (so it didn't matter at the time what we said about jolly Saint Nick) bright eyed and happy. We decorated the house, my parent's came to stay with us, we had gumbo, bought an artificial tree, wrapped up presents, hung stockings... it was great...

The next year at almost 2 years we still were kind of avoiding the Santa thing... but we could feel it looming. We knew it was pressing in on us.... to lie or not to lie... We said nothing. She had great verbal ability for her age, but she was still under 2... another year passed without us pushing the Santa myth (though we did let her watch the Rankin & Bass claymations).

The next year, almost 3, we had moved into a new house, she was soooooooo into Christmas and Santa and all the hub bub that goes with it... somehow she suddenly knew all about the merry fat man and we didn't know how!!! We hadn't taught her the legends of Santa. Had the Rankin & Bass movies done it? Had her friends? Grandparents? That year her grandmothers wanted to go to see the mall Santa with her. I will say simply that it did not go well. Still, on Christmas eve her santaphobia was gone and she wanted to leave him cookies and soy milk (she was afraid Santa was lactose intolerant) and leave veggies for the reindeer. We did as she said cause that's what you do when your not quite 3 year old is self perpetuating a Christmas legend... Santa, Mrs Claus and the reindeer all left her presents that year... what were we doing?

Last year, nearing 4, she was in preschool so we knew we were down for the count. Christmas was ALL ABOUT Santa (though she didn't want him anywhere near her). For the first time we started using the Santa myth to our advantage. Then there was the letter to Santa, the endless discussions about Santa, conversations about what kind of cookies he would like best, Mike suggested Santa might want a healthier option and asked if we should leave him some Broccoli & Rice... she didn't like that.

Now, nearing 5, in her 2nd year of 2 year preschool she knows everything (that she wants to know) about Santa and Christmas. We talk about the reindeer, Mrs. Claus, the elves, where Santa lives, what he does the rest of the year and through it all I am so careful not to "answer" her questions. I ask "what do you think?" "was that in a story you heard?" "well how do you think he can get around the world to every child's home going up and down their chimneys in only one night?" She has an answer to every single question she asks... I just let her do the answering.

I don't want to lie about Santa... but really what would be the lie? There is a Santa. He or she looks different in every home visited. Sadly "Santa" can't make it to every home to visit every child. There aren't enough Santas in the world for that. I guess instead of worrying about not telling K the "truth" about Santa I should have worried from the very beginning about making sure Santa can visit as many people as possible... That is what I wish I could tell her, and maybe some day when she has it all figured out and asks "Mommy, is there really a Santa Claus?" I can tell her the truth, as long as I can help it, there will be.

2 comments:

elizabeth said...

I know I already told you this, but here it is again: Last year, after Zoe's bath, she was asking me about the miracle of Santa getting into houses without fireplaces, or with locked doors, etc. I basically just said, "well, he's magical.. how else could that sleigh carry him and all those reindeer?", and she said, "oh, so he's like Jesus?", and I, in my quick response, said, "yeah - except Jesus was real", and - oh craaap. I got really paranoid for a second, and started to cover it up with some dumb excuse, but she looked at me, and then said, "you mean, Santa is REAL - just that the ones we see in the stores and stuff are just his helpers and THEY'RE not real..". Um, yeah, kid - that is EXACTLY what I meant. She had already doubted his existence a couple of times before, but, like K, had always sort of filled in the blanks for herself and decided to still believe. I don't have any problem with that whatsoever. In fact, it seems pretty obvious to me that they WANT to believe, so who am I to stop it? When she finally brings it up, and I can see she's ready, I'll probably handle it a lot like you. We are good at this - and our kids are even better. :)

Anonymous said...

SO for the 10th time - I believe that PrincessPirateDay should be a holiday for all and if I decide to have kids thank all of the above that I have your blog!!!!