The Rite of Passage

Your teen years.

Being a freshman in high school and again in University.

Being peed, pooped, puked on by your first newborn.

The first born’s first day of school.

Here’s a new one. Explaining to your first born about Santa, the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny. This year Crash questioned me once about Santa. I’m guessing he’s heard things at school. There’s so much he’s learned at school that isn’t in the curriculum. So much he’s learned from his friends. I could write a book about it. Or at least another post.

Anyway, he tossed it out one evening like it was no big deal, like he was telling me that he put milk in his cup. Like it ain’t no thang…

“I bet you and mom drink the milk, eat the cookies, and buy the presents”.

My response? “I wouldn’t do that. It’s not mine.” He went on to finish his bedtime snack and that was that. I mentioned once in a post that another mom used that as an opportunity  to help her son become Santa. We did something similar this year with the boys. As you may recall we did a daily random act of kindness. While our gifts and acts were not left and done anonymously, it still gave the boys a sense of generosity. It even came back to them twice. One kind soul gave us a turkey. Another kind soul gave us a gift card for a restaurant.

Anyway, back to the rite of passage. It could be because Crash is at that age, or perhaps just coincidence, but I read quite a few posts about children who had reached the “I don’t believe in Santa” age. While we may have skipped it this year, it was only by the seat of our newly hemmed pants. Crash picked up on a few irregularities.

Bang received a remote control car from Santa. However, upon putting batteries in it we discovered it didn’t work. How do you exchange a gift from Santa at Walmart? We played this off because DW’s dad and step-mom had bought the same car for our nephew so we just used their receipt. It sill left an impression on the oldest.

Next year I’m not sure we’ll be so lucky. What I wouldn’t give for them truly believe forever. Yes, it’s a rite of passage for us parents. However, it is just as much their rite of passage, too.  Our kids are growing up. We’ve kept them alive. They are smart enough to know better.

It doesn’t have to mean the magic is dead, though. Like love through a marriage, it doesn’t die, it just changes form. Once we realize this, we can adapt to the change. We change ourselves if need be. We grow.

I’ll never say good bye to the Jolly Old Elf. Even in years to come when neither believe it’s him leaving presents, I plan to make sure one or two have his name on them.

I know Christmas is over. The decorations are mostly down. We’re back to regular music. I just wanted to get this out there. I had it unfinished in my drafts folder and like a 9 year old asking to play Minecraft, it just wouldn’t leave me alone.

Lastly, if you’re really bored or you really love me, check out my YouTube channel to see me playing with my  Crash’s Christmas present. You’ll get a glimpse of where we live.

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The Daily Elf: The Finale

This day tugs at my heartstrings, y’all. Christmas Eve and the kids are wired for sound. Perpetual motion. A blur of constant motion like a toddler hyped up on a double double*.

Their excitement is contagious. In a year I suspected one would start questioning Santa, we got lucky. He brought it up once. I denied it. He let it go. I’ve got another post coming about that.

Through all this excitement comes bedtime. The boys know they aren’t allowed to touch the elves on account they’ll lose their magic ability to fly back to the North Pole. However, tonight is special. Tonight’s the night magic happens. They are allowed to hug the elves good bye and tell them, “See you next December.” Tonight Santa will arrive with his bag full of goodies. Woody and Elfis will have their magic restored by Santa and will join him on his flight. After seeing the elves for 24 days, they become a normal part of our house. It makes me sad to see them go. I think I need help…

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*A double double is a coffee with 2 cream and 2 sugar for those of you were curious but too shy to ask.

The True Spirit of Santa Claus

Fourth grade is a crucial year. I would know because I taught it for 6 years. Every year in December I would create a math test to assess their knowledge of the concept we had just spent weeks learning. However, there was always one question, the last one, that I was most curious about on this December math test.

20) Is Santa Claus real?
O Yes
O No

The ones who answered “Yes” simply thought it was a gimmie. An easy question because it was Christmas time. They thought it was as question I put on there so I would have an even 20 questions instead of 19.

The ones who answered “No”, I knew it was time for a chat. So at lunch time, I would line up the students who answered “Yes” without them knowing why I lined them up specifically. I would send them off and I would talk to the rest. It would go something like this…

Raise your hand if you’re not sure if Santa is real or not. Hands around the room would go up and furtive looks would be passed to one another. Do you know I think Santa is real? In fact, I know he is. Think about what Santa does. He delivers presents to people around the world. How do those people feel waking up to gifts under their tree? Pretty amazing, right? Santa spreads joy and happiness. That right there is what the whole Christmas season is about, bringing joy to others. This is a time of year for family, friends, fun, and feeling festive. So really Santa is a person who represents all that. Kind of like the flag represents our country or a cross represents Christianity, Santa represents Christmas spirit. As long as you, as long as others continue to spread joy and happiness, Santa is very real. 

But let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas. This is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Heads would nod, faces would smile, and each of them understood what I meant. Then they’d go on their merry way to lunch and the subject would never be mentioned again.

I bring this up because just yesterday, Crash (who is in 4th grade now) was talking about a picture he colored of cookies and milk for Santa. It’s currently on the fridge and he says to me, “I want to tape it to the table we leave Santa’s cookies and milk on. But I think its you and mom who eat the cookies, drink the milk and buy the presents.”

I paniced. I tried to stay calm on the outside but my insides were screaming and crying on the floor like a full blown toddler tantrum in the candy aisle. My only response was, “I wouldn’t do that. They’re not my treats.” Nothing else was said.

I also bring this up because of a Facebook post that’s been making its rounds. It’s an amazing story of how a mom handled her son’s disbelief in Santa. If you haven’t read it yet, please go here. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you come back.

See? Pretty awesome, right? Essentially, it’s what I told my 4th graders, Santa is the spirit of giving and all things happy. However, she took it a few steps further by allowing him to BE Santa.

I knew this day would come. I just didn’t think it would come this soon. I didn’t think it would be today.

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Santa Stress

It happens to at least one of our kids every year. It has happened in previous years with Crash, and now it happens to Bang.

Santa stress.

When our Christmas tree first went up the boys knew that was the signal for Woody and Elfis to return. They were looking forward to their return. There was a very distinct change in Bang’s attitude and behaviour. Before the elves arrival, if he got frustrated with something – it could have been anything from the wrong color bowl to the way his socks fit to the zipper on his jacket – he would stomp and growl/scream. He wouldn’t ask for help.

He didn’t want help.

He’d stomp and then carry on trying to do whatever it was he was trying to do. However, after our elves returned, his stomping and growling stopped instantly. He would calmly ask for help. It was bliss.

For 12 whole days.

Now, he’s seen Santa three times in three different locations. We discovered he’s now scared/shy of Santa. Crash never was. Bang just developed this phobia. Not once has he sit on Santa’s lap to tell him what he wanted for Christmas this year. Only once did he approach Santa. But that was because he was passing out presents (coloring books and markers) to Bang’s class.

*Side note – He was upset upon opening his coloring book and markers because it’s not what he was asking for. It wasn’t a combine harvester. However, he now has nearly every picture in his book colored and his markers will often travel with him.

Anyway, Santa was in his classroom for a quick visit last Friday. When we went to school today, Bang broke down in tears on our way in.

“I don’t want to go to school.” he told me.

I held his hand and continued walking. When he covered his mouth to hide his crying, I clued in that he was scared of something and that something could only have been Santa. Normally, he can’t wait to get to school. He loves it. I carried him into class and one of his teachers talked to him to find out what he wanted to start his day doing. Turns out he wanted to play with the glitter.

“I’m happy, now” he told his teacher after many glittered ornaments.

Remember I mentioned Santa stress in the beginning? Bang is officially tired of being “good”. The stomping and growling has returned. One can only be on their best behavior for so long. With everyone asking him about Santa coming, asking him if he’s being good, the anticipation of Christmas morning, it’s all become just too much handle any more.

It use to happen to Crash, too. So many people would ask him if he’s ready for Santa, if he was being good, he would go into melt down mode for the last week and half before Christmas.

This would be one of the disadvantages of starting the Christmas season too early.