When They No Longer Believe
My little baby boys are about to turn 9. How is this possible? The years have flown by, and nowhere is it more obvious than when Christmas approaches. More specifically, Santa. When your kids are babies, you assume you have years and years of disguising your handwriting on the Santa gift tags. But before you know it, your sweet angelic children are informing you that they know that Santa isn’t real.
Talk about heartbreak. A punch in the gut. It’s not that I’m totally in love with Santa. I mean, the dude gets all the credit. We give pajamas and books; Santa brings bikes and video games. But it’s more about the loss of innocence that Santa represents. And the onward marching of time that reminds me that next year my kids will be ten, and then they will be tweens and then they will be TEENAGERS and then they’ll be going off to college and I already miss them and they’re still here.
But let’s look on the bright side.
The revelation about Santa has started a cascade of disbeliefs. The elf that I had to remember to move every night? And which caused me more than once to bolt upright in bed at 3am, realizing I hadn’t moved him? They now know he’s a fake.
We never have to stand in a long line to get a photo with Santa again! (I mean, we actually stopped that a few years ago because life is too short.)
What about the annoying app on my phone that would allow me to “scan” them, and then show me where they fell on a scale of naughty or nice? Okay, I’ll miss that a bit, but scanning a kid for the tenth time in an hour was pretty monotonous.
But that does bring up a pretty significant downside. Santa was a major player in our behavior manipulation for a good chunk of the year. Now how will we bribe them to behave? Without the threat of a coal-filled stocking, what can we do? Does this mean we’re going to actually have to parent year-round? The horrors!
I suppose this comes at a good time. For the first time, we’ll be traveling for the holidays (don’t get any ideas, would-be burglars, we’ve seen Home Alone and we just might “forget” one of the boys at home.) Now I won’t have to figure out how to explain how exactly Santa found us on another continent. (Well, magic, obviously.)
Now I’m wondering if they’re giving up on the Tooth Fairy as well. I’ll bet a shiny golden dollar they’re going to pretend to believe in her as long as they have baby teeth in their head.