So last night at dinner, my kid announced that she no longer believed in Santa Claus. "Well, how do you think all those presents get under the tree, then?" I asked Ms. Smarty Pants. This was met with a look of pity/weariness, which I find comes from my 6 year old more often these days when she's assessing me and my many, many shortcomings and deciding whether or not her mother might actually be, in fact, retarded.
"Um, the MOMS and DADS put them under there."
I remained composed(ish), "Well, I suppose they COULD do that, but it would be kind of hard, wouldn't it?" (Why this would be less plausible than Santa bringing the presents by breaking in through the screen door before visiting 10 zillion other houses in one night, I don't know, but I went for it).
Jeremy thoughtfully bit into his burger and said, "One year, I decided there was no Santa Claus, too. And I didn't get any presents that Christmas." Lily looked alarmed. I had to clamp my mouth shut at this point, because the twisted, dark-mother side of me wanted to one-up that one by telling Lily that kids who don't believe in Santa not only don't get any presents, but that Santa comes and steals the toys they already have, just as punishment, a la David Sedaris' Santaland Diaries (pure comic genius). I didn't, though.
Instead, I drew upon my motherly sensibility (as if I actually had some), and tried to bring the focus back to the whole mystery of the thing. "Well," I said, "I think it's nice to believe in a little magic. The spirit of Santa Claus is certainly wonderful to think about, no?"
Lily, at that point, took 'spirit' to mean, 'dead', and decided that Santa died a long time ago and it's his ghost who brings presents to all the little children.
And I decided to just let it go.
4 days ago