So this morning was the normal scaled-down panic that weekday mornings usually are at our house -- Rae needing help putting on her tights but insisting on putting her toothpaste on her toothbrush herself (half the friggin tube, of course) and I'm ironing a pair of jeans (drying them in the dryer makes them shrink up that critical half inch too much, so I hang them and then iron them) when Leah, the only one ready, tugs on my robe and says to me, "Mom, is Santa fake?".
And the world slowed to a stop while I processed this and tried to answer quickly enough that it wouldn't look suspect, while desperately trying to figure out what to tell her, and still finish the ironing job. She's only 6. Well, almost 7, but I figured I had a good couple of years yet before Santa became an issue.
And so I answered, "Well, some of the Santas are fake; you know, the ones at the malls? They're just pretend, but Santa is real. Why do you ask? Did someone tell you Santa was fake?"
"Nope, I was just thinking." Leah is too analytical for her own good sometimes.
Now I'm worried that I might have planted the thought in her head accidentally. This morning at breakfast, Leah discovered that another one of her teeth is loose. While we were finishing breakfast I was saying that wouldn't it be funny if the tooth fairy and Santa ended up coming to the house on the same night? That maybe they'd bump into each other outside the house and maybe make a date for lunch. I should learn to shut my big mouth. I now think it's probable that the kids at school have told her there's no tooth fairy, and, following the logic through, she decided that Santa was probably fake too.
I hope I managed to reassure her. I would hate to think that she stopped believing in Santa this early. Do your kids still believe? How do you keep that up?