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Santa. Baby. (Memo to my Son in 2007)

Growing pains

I should have seen this coming when my son no longer played with the handful of Tonka and Corgi trucks that I have carried through my 42 years.  There's nothing like good old-fashioned lead-painted toys.  But he's 11 now, and the Batmobile and the Starsky and Hutch Grand Torino have settled to the bottom of the toy box, under layers of Power Rangers and Star Wars toys.  (Boba Fett makes it, but not Huggy Bear???) 

He's 11 now, and Sports Center has replaced Jimmy Neutron, and Daddy's got some 'splainin to do.

Growing pains are on the way.

366478-1154943-thumbnail.jpgAs the eldest of 5 children, with 12 years between my youngest sister and me, I never lived in a house where someone didn't BELIEVE in Santa Claus.  That's very likely to change.  Soon. 

The other day, in a daze of watching "Elf," his younger brother and sister reacted to a line about parents putting out toys instead of Santa, "That's what Brendan thinks."  Since they didn't break their gaze from Will Ferrell, they didn't see me flinch at the blow of that statement.  They weren't testing me, but once Brendan gets the confirmatory "talk," the dominoes will be set to fall.  

And when that happens, however it happens, good Lord.  I'll be living in a house where everyone's the wiser and my kids have outgrown my toys before I have.

Yes, I s'pose it is remarkable that an 11 year-old boy has at least not admitted to his parents that he doesn't believe in Santa anymore.  Maybe he's trying to protect us... or hedge his bets. 

But wait... there's more!  

This is also the year when they will show "The Movie" in school, setting up another interesting chat.  Since I've been told it's my job to handle "The Talk" that will follow, I decided long ago to link the two and go "Tit for Tat," [I know...] something like this:

"No son there's no Santa, at least they way you thought."

"But there is sex."*

"But you can't do it yet."

"But when you can, it will be really great."

"But not for years, 'cause you might by mistake make a baby."

Then this happened

When the bell rang, I hit the "snooze bar" to buy a little time.

"Daddy, did you and Mommy pray to have us kids."

"Yes, we did."

"Well, you must've really prayed fast between Katherine and Danny, because they're only a year apart."

"Well, yes we did, son, but as you'll learn, Mommies and Daddies have something to do with it, too."

[Snooze bar holds for seven seconds.]

"What's 'The Talk,' Daddy."

[Nearly drove off the road.]

"Why do you ask?"

"[Older cousin] asked me if you and Mommy had had 'The Talk' with me yet."

"Did your cousin say what it was about?"

"Nah.  He just asked me.  What's it about, Daddy?"

"Well, remember how you heard that the 5th boys and girls will see 'The Movie' later this year?"

"Yeah.  They're gonna show bodies and stuff."

"Well, that's kind of what the talk is about."

"But what about The Talk?

"Son," I finally intoned. "Remember when you were little and you knew all your ABCs?"


"But even though you knew all your letters,  you still didn't know how to read, did you?  There were some other things you needed to learn first, right?"


"Well, it's the same way with 'The Talk.'  There are some things that you're going to learn this year and when you do, 'The Talk' will be easier to understand."

"Oh.  Okay."

Again.  Maybe he was trying to protect me. 

Or hedge his bets.

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Reader Comments (3)

I think that you are handling these growing pains - which are probably more yours than his - quite well. I loved the letters vs. reading analogy. Nicely done!

Let me know how the "talk" goes because I will be in charge of that in my home as well - simply because I know I will do a better job. Mr. LIW is in charge of the drugs/alcohol talk, because he has more experience with those vices than I do.
November 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLady In Waiting

Chapter 1:Didn't you want to protect your younger siblings by not giving away the "truth" about Santa? (maybe the "truth" is ephemeral). I think your oldest knows and doesn't tell because he's a kind soul.

Chapter two: I have been having these exact discussions with my seven year-old daughter (gasp). When she said, "you and Dad had to do THAT!!?" I found myself saying, "Well, yes, but you see - when you're a grownup,its something you like to do. It's hard for you to see that now, but someday you will."

November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLeezer
LIW: You're right, the pains are mine, not his.

Leezer: Chapter 1: I sure did want to protect the younger ones, and did when one of them came to me. My Dad still says how well I handled it, but hasn't reminded me of how. And I think he does know. And after hearing a great old Celtic carol called "I wonder as I wander," on XM this morning, I think it might be time to shift the "wonder" of Christmas to the magical notion of God's son being born. I'm not getting preachy, but a nerve was touched by that song this morning, and I think I'm going to run with it.

Chapter 2: My boss recently had to tell her daughter about the whole deal. Her daughter's one-word, sarcastically delivered response: "Pleasant." I'll keep you posted!
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWryter

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