Home schooling an only child creates extra concerns. Like, "What brat kid will tell my angel the truth about Santa?"
Sydney is in third grade this year. By the time I was her age, I knew because the neighborhood brat kid told me. I was in kindergarten when she burst my bubble. Knowing she was probably just being mean to me, I figured I'd better ask my mom for the truth. So I did.
"Does Tim know?" I demanded. Because if my older brother Tim knew, I was really going to be mad.
That did it!
They'd tricked me. Everyone in our house knew except me. Even the brat kid knew. I'd been taken for a fool. I didn't care about the presents. It was more about dignity, by golly! I imagined them secretly laughing behind my back. I decided to get even, but that's another story.
This is our second year of home school. A few nights of watching George Lopez last summer took care of the "How will she learn what 'bad' words are" conundrum. But what about Santa? Does George Lopez take requests?
"So are you gonna be the brat kid or me?" I asked Jim just about a month ago.
"What brat kid?"
"The brat kid that tells Syd the truth about Santa."
He laughed. "I guess we do have to consider that, don't we?"
"Are you JUST NOW thinking of this? I started worrying about it last year."
"Why don't we wait and see. Maybe she'll ask us."
"I don't know if that's a good idea. I was furious. If we let this go on til she's in junior high, she might turn goth or something."
"Were you goth?"
"NO, but I might have been if we'd had goth back then."
"But you turned out okay."
"No I didn't. I'm bitter and angry."
"Because the brat chick told you about Santa?"
I don't know how he does it, but the conversation just kinda ended there.
Two weeks ago, it happened. I was working on one computer and she was planning her arcade empire on the laptop. "Hey, I wanna ask you something," she started.
I'd never heard that tone from her before. I was afraid it was about babies, but she doesn't talk about them much. She doesn't like them. She's been very vocal about not adding any to our family.
"I want to ask you a question and I want the truth. Not a little truth, but all the truth. I don't want some crazy explanation that doesn't really answer my question," she said.
Geesh. She's figured out my dodging technique.
"Is Santa just parents who get up in the night to check on their kids and then they put the presents out?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Just answer the question." (Pretty obvious that her dad was an investigator for a number of years.)
So we had a nice long talk. There was no name calling or vowing to get even like in my case almost 40 years ago. No foot stomping accusations. Just a big hug followed by a sincere "Thank you."
I sent Jim a text message to let him know.
"Is she mad?" he asked.
"Nope. She's grateful and has been respectful all night."
When Jim got home from work, Syd made sure to let him know about our talk. Then, she informed him that she's prepared a handy shopping list by copying and pasting photos from online toy stores of all the things she wants. Thirty-six pages worth.
"It's in the Dropbox so you can read it on your iPhone," she said. "I just want to make Christmas shopping a little easier."
Maybe we'd been better of if she had gotten mad.