It can be stressful to have a seven-year-old at Christmastime. Why? Because there is questioning. A lot of questioning. You know, about that plump guy in the red suit.
I have to be honest; Grace’s prying questions about Santa make me more uncomfortable than the few questions she has already asked me about S-E-X. Questions about sex, while a little awkward, haven’t been that hard to answer because I am making sure she has accurate facts, giving her knowledge that not only makes her feel okay about her own body, but will hopefully lead to informed and responsible decisions in the future. I subscribe to the very wise motto of G.I. Joe: Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
But answering all these endless questions about Santa means I am doing the exact opposite: I am perpetrating a lie.
It all started at the very beginning of December. We were in the car, sitting at a stoplight. The car behind us caught my eye in the rearview mirror because it had those little reindeer antlers on either side. I glanced at the driver for a glimpse of this person with undoubted Christmas cheer, and lo and behold…it was an older gentleman, with a round face, a long, fuzzy white beard, and a red shirt. I couldn’t believe my luck! Last year we happened upon a reindeer in our backyard just before Christmas, and now this! So I announced to the kids, “Look who is driving the car behind us!” They both quickly turned around, and Michael yelled, with an energy like the one that comes from eating too many pixie sticks, “SANTA!!!!!!”
Almost on cue, the man behind us smiled and waved at the kids. It was, for lack of a better word, precious. Just as I was feeling my own giant boost of yuletide glow, Grace said, a bit accusingly, “What would Santa be doing driving around here?” I explained that maybe he was making the rounds, checking up on kids, getting reports from all the Elves on the Shelves. She was quiet for a second. “I kind of think Santa is real. But I kind of think he is a fairy tale.” Well, isn’t that just Grinchy. And then the questions began…
I know what she’s doing. I can tell she is conflicted. She wants to believe Santa is real, but that maturing brain of hers is feeding her more and more of this thing call “logic,” and she’s not so sure she likes the taste of it. Therefore, instead of coming straight out with the question, “Is there really a Santa Claus?” she is asking every possible question about his practicality to see how I respond. Grace: What is Santa’s address?….Me: Just write “Santa Clause – North Pole. The post office will know where it goes because there is only one Santa….Grace: But if no one has ever seen Santa and his workshop is secret, how does the mailman know where he lives?….Me: (crap)
What am I supposed to do? Tell her that I am incredibly impressed with her abilities in deduction, throw up my hands to the fact that I will likely soon be out-smarted, and say, “Congratulations! I think you have just about figured it out. I will spare you the last two zillion questions you were going to ask me and just confirm what you are hinting at. THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS. And your parents are liars. Merry Christmas.”
Nope. That is not what I do at all. Instead, I conspire with my husband to dig ourselves even deeper in this jolly old lie. Ladies and gentlemen, witness our deception:
A few days ago, I was at the computer sending some emails when Grace asked me if the reason Santa knew all this stuff about her and Michael was because I emailed him. I confessed that I had absolutely no idea what Santa’s email address was. So Miss Smarty Pants said, “Just Google it.” I hesitantly typed in the words “Santa’s email address,” fearing that an entry would pop up saying something like “Trick your kids with this fake email address to Santa…because we all know Santa is not real.” Luckily, the first entry was an actual site where kids could send emails to Santa. And it was adorable. Grace entered her information and her note to Santa, then hit send. A screen popped up with a message that the email was being sent…then it said Santa was reading the email…then it said he was writing one back to her. Within a few minutes, Santa’s email was ready for her to read. She was a bit skeptical that he had written it so quickly, but that doubt was soon squashed once she read the email. It was very personal and even somehow had picked up from what she had written in the free-form comment section the fact that she had a brother. I was relieved to see she seemed quite satisfied.
But apparently her wheels had been turning all afternoon, because at dinner time she informed us she had a sneaky idea. She wasn’t so sure Santa had actually written that email, or that there really was a Santa to even email. So she had devised an “experiment.” She wanted my husband to go back to the site and enter in his name, but say he was 6-years-old and from Canada. By her reasoning, if Santa was real and really writing these emails, he would certainly know that Kurtis was actually an adult…and not living in Canada.
Well, *%$#@. But I have to admit, she is kind of a genius. And a little maniacal.
We knew we couldn’t talk our way out of this, so my husband agreed to do it. He went downstairs and started the email. All of a sudden, he came racing back upstairs, whipped into the family room and said in a hushed voice, “QUICK! Get on the Kindle, pretend you are Santa, and send an email to me saying that you know I was tricking you!” OOOOOH! You handsome devil you! But there was just one problem. I panicked, “But the site doesn’t send it to your email address! Santa’s email just pops up on the site after a minute or two!!!” But my enginerd had already taken care of that. He had unplugged the router so when they hit “send” nothing would happen. Then when he plugged the router back in, he quickly opened his email to find this message waiting in his inbox:
Subject: Naughty, Naughty
HO HO HO! You tried to trick old Santa! I know you don’t live in Canada.
P.S. Rudolph thought that was a funny joke!
I know. The tangled web of lies we weave. But I have to say, it was totally worth it to see the look on her face and hear her exclaim, “YES! The email was really from Santa!”
Maybe I am setting her up for a bigger disappointment when she finally does learn the truth. Maybe I am being selfish. I know that the elaborate lengths my husband and I have gone to in order to keep Grace believing are in part for us. We see her losing pieces of “little” every day. Sure, her innocence still outweighs her worldliness. But childhood starts to look different around this age. It isn’t necessarily better or worse, but change is always hard. Every parent knows that faint tug of longing that comes whenever you catch a glimpse of a photo of your child during younger years. Remember…that squeaky voice…the way that tiny hand felt around your finger…that unquestionable belief in anything that could be imagined…it was adorable.
But seven-year-olds can be pretty adorable, too. Grace reminded me of that when she took a bit of offense to Santa’s use of the word “joke.”
“It wasn’t a joke. It was an EXPERIMENT.”
Maybe I will remember that line when Grace finally does come to the real conclusion about Santa Claus. And then I will let her eat the cookies her little brother leaves for him. I might need a lot of cookies.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
24 thoughts on “I Am A Liar. And It’s All Santa’s Fault.”
They don’t call seven the age of reason for nothing!
I did not know that. Huh. You learn something new every day.
Love it! My sister used to call our house when her kids didn’t believe Santa. She’d ask to speak to Santa very loudly in front of them, my dad would get on the phone and do his ho, ho, ho thing. It was very funny ’cause my dad hated doing it! My sister never saw that side of the conversation. BTW, my kids both figured things out when they were eight. So, you’ve got about a year left. Enjoy!
Whew! Thanks for letting me know…I will make sure to enjoy this year. It’s so funny the things we do. I love the “phone call to Santa.” I think I remember my grandpa being the one who “had Santa’s number,” and he would call when misbehavior popped up. Never for me of course. I was an angel. But I seem to remember my male cousins being terrified when Gramps picked up the phone around Christmastime. God bless your dad for playing along!
You are so right Kelly! I am sure Papa never called for you are Beth but Michael, Kevin and Tom were repeat offenders. He also actually called through his work “as Santa”. They had bells and everything. I remember filling out a form or something with things Michael and Matthew were “good little Boys” at for Santa to compliment them on and then he would follow up with things they needed to work on so not to be put on the “naughty list”. We always knew ahead of time when he would call so camera was ready. Loved that it was their own Grandpa and that they never recognized his voice! Imagine Michael’s surprise when Santa got personal…”I see that you give your Mom trouble about going to bed on time.”… or whatever he was misbehaving at the time! So magical, I miss those days!
I knew I remembered him doing that. Grandpa made a good Santa.
Loved this post and LOVE the lengths you are taking to “keep the magic alive!” I have a feeling I will go to similiar lengths if necessary. Merry Christmas!!
We do funny things when we get desperate to keep our kids little. I am glad I am in good company. You have a Merry Christmas too!
Grace sounds like such a dellightful little girl.It is always sad to think of our kids growing up and trying to keep them as they are.I am glad you have another year of believing in Santa with her.Some day she will do it with her own kids and your little grandkids.It is so much fun.Merry Christmas
Oh my gosh she’s too smart for her own good! That’s so cute. I’m scared of what we have to look forward to…. David and I are both bad at lying so we will have to work on our game faces before we procreate!
Looking just now at that baby picture of Grace dressed as an angel, it occurred to me with a little more clarity than I am comfortable with that it will be no time until C is questioning the existence of Santa. This is all the more unbelievable because right now she’s too young to even know that the figment of him exists. Mind=blown.
Look at you getting all deep and stuff on a Friday night. Meanwhile, I am getting an update on what Todd Bridges, a.k.a. Willis, is up to on “Where Are They Now” on the OWN network. You win.
Eeekkk… mother of a 3 year old here. Not at all looking forward to these talks.
Grace seems to be quite the genius though. And only 7, imagine the possibilities.
Sometimes she scares me. It is going to get harder and harder to stay one step ahead of her. Enjoy that little guy!
I’m here to amusedly confess that I believed in Santa(and the Easter Bunny), hook, line and sinker, until I was ten when I read some story about “The True Story of St. Nicholas”. I’m not sure why I didn’t find out sooner. I do know I was big enough to understand it was a fun secret and to try to still keep it fun for my younger siblings. They still all found out sooner, though. 🙂 I think I was just a bit clueless. 🙂 We won’t be doing Santa(etc) with our kids, but they’ll still only get to see the bulk of the Christmas trove on Christmas morning. Same idea, I think.
That is impressive. I would love for my daughter to keep that innocent wonder for that long.
OMG this is HILARIOUS! I love your spirit!
Thanks. But we were totally ridiculous. It makes for a good story, though!