I was at my friends house in the kitchen with her while our (combined 8) kids were at the table eating dinner. We were talking and only vaguely listening to what the kids were saying as is a parents tendency. What they were saying was being processed after the conversation my friend and I were having so I didn't catch it right away, and of course as is the case when you are listening and engaging in more than 1 conversation at a time you don't always catch everything. For those that don't have kids you might not know about this gift of secondary listening, basically you listen with less than half your attention looking mostly for tone and key words that might alert you that it's time to pay full attention so you can moderate any potential situations. I LOVE this skill!
It was a combination of a conspiratorial tone and key words that alerted me that I needed to pay more attention. It was something about Santa, but I was unsure what. I asked my friend and she replied "Your kid is disillusioning my kids." Okay, I thought it was something along those lines. I call in Biggest to have a chat and gently inquire as to the subject of the conversation (she had said "I think maybe Santa isn't real, I think it's our parents.") and then to tell her to keep quiet about it we would discuss this later.
Upon leaving as she was getting into the car and Middlest was still dallying in the yard she asked "Is it true? Are you and Dad Santa?"
"Yes, it's us.Don't say anything to your sister about it, we'll talk about it after she's in Gymnastics." I reply.
Biggest climbs in the car, Middlest finally makes it and hooks in, I load in the baby and climb in the drivers seat. As I buckle my safety belt Biggest catches my eyes and tells me with a big, amazing, grateful smile on her face "Thanks."
and then my heart soars, it flies, it smiles. My kid is AWESOME, she's thankful, she's polite, she APPRECIATES what we did for her!
Once we get Middlest into gym we sit to talk. I open the conversation with "So. what do you want to know?"
Without missing a beat she replies "What am I getting for Christmas?"
and so begins the conversation that ends her belief in Santa. The high lights being her realizing and asking if it's us that eats the cookies, and then requesting that she now get to eat some of the cookies as well. Then telling me in a light-bulb moment "Mom, I know why your fatter than Dad, it's because you eat the cookies, and he drinks the milk!" ('err, Thanks.)She would like to know what she can do to help keep Josie believing. Among her suggestions are sprinkling white sand on the floor and shaking jingle bells in her bed on Christmas Eve. She is also just dying to talk to another child about this but I don't know any other kids who know the truth yet.
All in all it was a positive experience, she was okay with the truth, I think she feels bigger now. She's in on a parent secret and it makes her feel special.Josie still believes in Santa, although I am not sure about my friends kids. She assures me it's okay because they celebrate solstice so it's someone else entirely who comes to bring them presents...or something like that. Honestly I'd like to celebrate solstice instead of Christmas, I'm just not down with the whole CHRIST thing, but Hubs isn't ready to give it up. Not because of Christ but because of tradition and magic.
So now I leave you with a memory from Biggest's first Christmas in which she understood about Santa. It was Christmas morning and no one was waking up early to run out and check the stockings, it was like that when she was little. In fact she stayed in bed, we are the ones who woke up and went into her room informing her once again that it was Christmas, that maybe Santa came, maybe he had eaten the cookies and drank the milk we had left, maybe he had brought presents, let's check your stocking. She wouldn't budge. Finally we realized why. She thought Santa would still be in the living room. It took quite a bit of convincing and checking the living room to finally coax her out. She was very pleased and amazed when she discovered the cookies and milk gone and presents piled under the tree and her stocking stuffed with presents.