*******In Which Ant Learns ‘More’ About Santa, et all
Disclaimer: You may not want to have your children read this. Especially if they have not gone through the Santa ‘exploration’ phase that Ant has recently encountered…. Or any other character exploration. Come on, you know the ones. You’ve been warned!
Nothing like getting this bomb dropped on you in the carpool line.
K is a no-nonsense kid, and so I retorted, “Do you want to continue to believe, or do you want to help make it happen?” He thought about it for a few moments, and then informed me that he would continue to believe for one more year, and then he would help make it happen with the rest of the enlightened adults. To him, this was one of those rites of passage into adulthood, and since he was born I swear he’s been chomping on the bit to tick all those rites off his checklist.
That was the extent of the conversation with K. I knew that Ant was going to be a different story.
Ant loves being a kid. He revels in it. He’s the oldest soul I know, and yet still innocent, still imaginative, still caught up in the magic. Ant was likely to start asking this year, and I didn’t know if I could handle it the same way I did with K. In fact, I was fairly certain that I would not be able to handle that way at all.
Two weekends ago, Ant approached me. “Well, I want to know,” he stated, “if Santa is real.”I looked at him for just a split second, and he leveled his gaze right back at me. I knew there was no way to get out of this one. So I asked him if he thought he could handle the truth. It was very reminiscent of A Few Good Men. He countered me with something I never thought he would catch on to, but in hindsight, was likely to be our downfall.
“Well, over the years,” Ant explained (and yes, those were his exact words—I kid you not), “I’venoticed that the fonts change.” At this point, I have to admit that this had me scratching my head for a minute. Fonts? What?
“You know the fonts!” Ant’s elaboration here was not helping me. “The fonts! At our house Santa writes in block letters and at Grandma’s house he writes in cursive.”
I get it now,kid. I see where you are going with this. So I ‘fessed up; I told him—about Saint Nicolas and Sinterklauss and how one little idea that shows us all how good we can actually be as human beings took over a good chunk of Europe and then came over here and is celebrated 1700 years later. He loved it. Ant ate it up. As a pure-bred humanist, Ant thought this was one of the greatest triumphs of human existence.Except, somehow, something got lost in the details.
Later that night—as I was out with friends, and before I could tell J about the discussion Ant and I had earlier in the afternoon, Ant decided that the dinner table was an excellent place to announce that he knew Santa was dead. Because MOM had told him. That Santa was dead.
I wish I could have been there to see J’s face. Especially when Ant asked J is Santa’sghost is the one who delivers the presents.
Then, last week, Ant had an epiphany while watching a commercial on TV. I think it’s the one where the kids everywhere are running into their parents’ bedrooms on Christmas morning and waking them up at some ungodly hour. Suddenly Ant exclaimed, “Oh! I get it! That’s why you are always so tired on Christmas! You have to stay up to midnight to deliver the presents.” This was following on the heels of the conversation we had with Ant to detail how Santa’s ghost doesn’t deliver the presents.
Yeah, nothing to do with you being up at four in the morning, kid, or the scotch your father and I drink while wrapping the presents at the eleventh hour (literally) because we don’t get it done in a timely fashion.
Then Ant asked me how many other houses we deliver presents to…You see where this is going, right?
Last night, Ant lost a tooth. It’s the fifty gagillionth tooth he’s lost this year. The kidcan’t eat an apple, for heaven’s sake. He started the tooth fairy preparations(and I didn’t plan on bursting that bubble unless I had to) and then abruptly stopped. “Who really is the tooth fairy?” he asked. I raised my hand. “And the Easter Bunny?” This time K pointed at me, answering on my behalf. “Oh, come on!” Ant replied, disgusted. He walked into the other room shaking his head and muttering to himself about the horror of it all.
To top it all off, I then promptly forgot to do the tooth fairy routine last night once Ant went to bed. Yeah, that’s right: Mother of Year right here. For the second time this year. Email me to get my home address so you can send me my trophy.
Ant woke J up this morning demanding his dollar from the Tooth Fairy. He was unwilling to hand over the tooth until he had said dollar bill in hand. Once the exchange occurred,Ant stared pointedly at J and said, “Thanks a lot, Tooth Fairy.” J then came and put me on notice, given my transgression. The way I figure it, this is a red letter day. Never again will I be stumbling around in the dark, risking a Lego embedded in my foot, trying to find a tooth under a pillow.
I’d feel some sadness about losing this piece of childhood with my kiddos if it wasn’tso comical. And it is comical—especially when you consider that I might have a future in ruining those magical moments from childhood.