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November 27, 2009

When Your Child Doesn't Believe in Santa

100_1397 It occurred to me recently that my seven year old has not once mentioned Santa or her Christmas wish list. With December looming, and my Christmas shopping technically done, I am caught between the rock of over-spending and the hard place of not knowing whether or not my child believes in Santa Claus anymore.

Her father and I have both employed multiple cagey conversation starters to figure out where she stands on the all important belief scale, but so far she’s eluded us. One day, we are sure she’s figured out the deception and is remaining mum in anticipation of at least one more Santa haul. At other times, she appears to be our little wide-eyed believer.

“So what are the other kids at school saying about Santa?” I asked. “Have they started their lists yet?”

“We are too busy to talk about Santa,” she said.

“Busy??”

“Learning, Mom,” she said. “We have too much to do to talk about Santa.”

Even when point blank methods are employed, nothing much is revealed.

“Have any of your friends talked about Santa not being real like Simon did last year?”

For the record, my response to Simon’s spouting off to anyone who would listen that his father had told him that Santa was a lie, and that parents shouldn’t tell lies to their children, was to inform Kat that Simon’s dad was full of something not nice and flat out wrong. Yeah, I am that mom. 

But this year I am a confused mom. Not wanting to trample her ability to suspend belief in the face of mounting evidence, I am willing to give her every opportunity to be a child for as long as possible. Even though it's more expensive.

“So, has Simon said anything?

“No, Mom,”she assured me. “Everyone believes in Santa.”

Whose innocence is being protected here anyway?

Kat still hasn’t asked for help with her Santa letter. She hasn’t hauled out the Sears’ Christmas catalog and even our recent holiday, which exposed her to more advertising aimed point blank at children than she is accustomed to, hasn’t prompted a single,

“I’m going to ask Santa for this.”

Instead, she tells her dad and I what she wants. A long conversation about the possibility of her own Nintendo DS (something my husband and I are still uneasy about) sounded more like a negotiation between child and parent than a little girl’s Santa wish list.

My husband’s company throws a Christmas party for the kids every December at the indoor amusement park in Edmonton.  There is always a Santa and Mrs. Clause. Though she hasn’t asked to go to the mall to see Santa at all, she will have the chance to do a meet and greet with him that evening. Will it clear the air? I doubt it.  She is more excited about the fact that we are allowing her to invite her two best friends along then anything else.

I discovered Santa’s true identity via a toy stash hidden under the basement stairs when I was seven. With three younger siblings, I was in no danger of losing my Santa booty, but I didn’t say a word until just before Easter and only revealed myself then because I wanted to help hide the candy after my younger sisters and brother were asleep. Perhaps this is a “like mother like daughter” moment for my little Mini-Me and myself? Like all things parenting, time will tell.

This is an original 50 Something Moms post by Ann Bibby of Care2 and anniegirl1138.com.

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