Remember when I asked in a Seven Snippets post recently how much longer the Santa gig was going to last?
This year, Sarah Kate asked for a Zhu Zhu baby, a Kindle, and a NeatDesk (yes, you read that right – one of those fancy schmancy $400 home office scanners). I’ve been throwing hints for weeks that Santa might not buy that for her – expensive, not a toy, etc. – and even her therapist picked up on the hints and started throwing some of her own into the mix each Wednesday between stretches.
But Santa had the mojo.
On Christmas Eve, after Sarah Kate insisted that Santa would not be able to come down the chimney with the toy box in the way (weeks ago, we placed it on the hearth to keep Nathan out of the fireplace rocks), Mr. Andi and I moved the 100+ pound monstrosity. She may have fallen asleep sitting upright during Mass, but she was wide awake once bedtime arrived, so we stayed up late to ensure that she was, indeed, sleeping before Santa brought the goods.
Santa still had his mojo.
Early on Christmas morning, Sarah Kate crept into our room, to my side of the bed. She whispered excitedly to me that Santa had brought the Kindle and the Zhu Zhu Baby, but her voice changed as she relayed the travesty of the ABBA dance Wii game which had been substituted for the NeatDesk. In my stupor I realized that my hints had fallen on deaf ears – she expected the NeatDesk.
We all – Nathan and Mr. Andi included – love the music from Mamma Mia! and Sarah Kate has the entire ABBA Gold album on her iPod, so I assumed that since she’s been saving her money to buy Just Dance 3 that she’d be thrilled with a Just Dance ABBA version. Surely the allure of “Dancing Queen” would bring her out of her NeatDesk funk, right?
Only if the Wii will actually play the disk.
Yep. Our Wii chose Christmas morning to give up the ghost. Frustrated, I used Facebook for what it’s intended – attracting sympathy for my First World Problems – and within just a few minutes my friend Anna had messaged me that they weren’t home but to call her and she’d help me get in so I could borrow their Wii.
Good friends are worth their weight in gold, I tell ya.
So we survived Christmas morning and Sarah Kate seemed happy with the ABBA Dance. Even Mr. Andi joined in on the fun, though I’m pretty sure he’ll never let me take photos (and even if he did, there would be no posting on the blog). All seemed well until the grandparents called and she was quick to point out that she didn’t get one of the things she requested.
The Day After Christmas arrived and all was well. Mr. Andi headed out early to buy a new Wii (yes, it honked, but it had to be done) and return Anna’s. Sarah Kate was shaking her booty to ABBA when we heard a knock at the door and two neighborhood kids appeared. She welcomed them in and all three got their 70′s-era groove on. Then, out of the blue, I heard her declare,
I was paralyzed. We’ve been thinking for awhile that she probably had the whole Santa thing figured out already, but she’d given no indication of it, and it hadn’t occurred to me that she might spill the beans to others.
I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to say next. “Don’t tell lies” wasn’t really appropriate, right? I sputtered something like, “Don’t say that! That is not why!” A few minutes later, Mr. Andi appeared and I whispered what had happened. Sensibly, he announced Today Is The Day For The Talk, though I was doubtful.
When Sarah Kate’s friends left, I walked over to her, Mr. Andi following close behind, gave her a direct look, and stated calmly,
She gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look, and I walked back into the other room. Mr. Andi followed me, not wanting to break the unified front. He was clearly torn between wanting to tell The Secret, yet still believing that what I’d said was right and just. After a few minutes, he walked back into the room where she was.
Mr. Andi came back to me to report the results of his “interrogation.” We talked about it and decided that maybe it was time for The Talk and headed back to where she was (still) playing the Wii. I signaled him to start, and he jumped right into the deep end - no beating around the bush, no backstory, and no reassurances or even a mention of the true meaning of Christmas.
She hedged again. Clearly, it had been discussed, but she didn’t want to give up that information.
Nuance. She’s got it.
Well. Okay, then.
I decided maybe it was time for Nurturing Mom to take over the The Talk That Might Crush Her Young Spirit. I reminded her of the story of the real man, St. Nicholas, that she learned about in CCD class, and told her that the deal with the jolly fat man is a Christmas tradition that we partake in so as to honor his memory.
Then I asked her if she remembered why she always receives exactly three gifts from Santa Claus. She began telling the tale of how St. Nicholas heard of a poor man who had three daughters and he could not afford to pay a dowry for them to marry. On three separate occasions, St. Nicholas threw a bag of gold through the window of the man’s house at night.
Sounds pretty good, huh?
Except that wasn’t the reason we’ve been giving her for the past eight years – we always said the three gifts were because the wise men brought three gifts to Jesus. No matter – we rolled with it (“Yes, that’s right! And you know what? Three gifts ALSO symbolizes the three gifts that the wise men brought!”) At least we know she’s paying attention at CCD.
Not only was she not crushed – I think she was more interested in getting back to her game. It was clear from her reaction that the Santa Bubble had long since burst, and that she was merely going along for our sakes (though it would have been nice to know that before we moved the toy chest behemoth). We thought that when The Secret was out, we’d be taking away some of the joy from her Christmas.
Ironically, she thought the same thing.
Or…maybe not. Maybe she just wanted to ensure she didn’t miss out on the gifts.