My oldest daughter (currently 7, going in to Grade 2 this year) is asking questions, with the subject matter most recently (of course) being Santa. The conversation at the kitchen bench a week out from Christmas went something like this:
Thea: “Mum – is Santa really real in true life?”
Me: “Of course he is, why would you ask that?”
Thea: “Well, Julie (classmate) said that there’s no Santa, that it’s just Mum and Dad. She crossed her heart and hoped to die, so she must really believe it.”
Me: “Well, sweetie, that’s a shame. I wonder why she thinks that.”
Thea: “So are you sure that Santa’s real in true life?”
Me: “Yes, of course.”
Now – I hate lying to my kids. It feels so incredibly wrong. But she’s only seven. Surely the excitement of believing should last a bit longer than that? Or am I being naive? On Christmas Day she coolly noted that Santa had wrapped a couple of his presents in one of the same wrapping papers that we had used (damn my lack of organisation in not having a spare roll). I know that, despite my protestations to the contrary, the seed of doubt is alive.
It’s not just Santa either – the Tooth Fairy is also being viewed with suspicion. The last two teeth that she has lost have been met with the question: “Mum, is the Tooth Fairy really real in true life or is it just you??” And she’s only lost four teeth! I want the magic to last longer!
Now that Christmas is out of the way, of course, I’m waiting for the inevitable questions about the Easter Bunny. And I want to fess up. It doesn’t seem fair to her to lie when she is asking a valid question - it's not respectful. What I really want to know though is: what is the best way to break the news?