Tuesday 1 December 2015


It’s that time of year again where the King and I have that inevitable discussion about Santa and the veracity of his existence. To be clear, I was always on the fence about lying to the King in the first place and telling him that a jolly dressed fat man breaks into your house and gives you gifts if he so deserves it. Fine it's a white lie (did a lawyer come up with that phrase?), but it's still a lie. 

As sentimental as I can be, it always seemed counterintuitive to teach my son not to lie in the general scheme of things whilst blatantly lying to him. But like any parent a mixture of factors - peer pressure, sentimentality, and the Christmas spirit - overcame me. Hence, Santa Claus became a presence in our house, as he is in most Christmas celebrating households. But of late the King has been asking me if he’s real and as a parent you’re dealt with that moment of do I burst this little 5 year old’s idyllic view of the world or do I lose a very good bargaining chip and serve the King a dose of hard reality.

I of course chose the route of the psychotherapist – or cowardice – and instead of answering him, asked him if he thought he was real? (I’m sure as he ages he’ll object to my insistence on answering a question with a question) He usually takes a minute. Says, yes, then no, then back to yes, then wants to break down it down as it seems far too enticing to still believe in this man. But like any 5 year old’s brain, it’s not without its issues for the King. First and foremost, he’s never been sold on the fact that Santa gets to enter your house. When he was old enough to digest this, he pointedly asked me if Santa could just leave the gifts at the door and not come in while we were sleeping. Fair point. He also knows that we’re a no shoe household and you know Santa has been trudging in reindeer sh*t in those big dirty boots.

Secondly, he’s fascinated by how Santa physically sees him. Does he have a crystal ball, a TV, a special ring that he can zoom in on the King’s whereabouts to see if he’s being naughty or nice? Moreover, the King is keen to know if Santa is watching him ALL the time. (Or are there windows where he’s not watching so he can get in all his mischief in one go). In the bath? At school, while he’s sleeping etc. I suppose I don’t blame the child. Not only are we telling our children that this strange man he’s never met hurdles down the chimney into your house, but he’s watching you all the time like a creepy NSA agent to keep an eye on how you behave. Sounds ominous when you describe it like that.

Of course ominous can also be helpful when your child is misbehaving at school as the King has been lately (I have chalked it up to a testosterone surge as opposed to overt malicious aggression, as well, he’s 5. The child is goofy and nuts but malicious is not a bone he has in his body). I blatantly told him that Santa is going to hold back on his Lego cargo ship if he acts like a crazy person in the classroom.

And of course that suddenly made the large man in the red suit feel very real. Ho ho ho.
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