Big Sis clearly wanted to talk with me about something. She was looking at me intently, wrinkling her nose, and "ummm"ing.
"Mom, I just don't see how parents could be Santa...so I still believe in Santa, even though kids at school make fun of me about it."
I sort of saw this coming. I'd been warned that 3rd grade was the end of innocence. And though I figured the demise of my little fairy follower's naivete wouldn't come easily, I anticipated playground chatter and our daughter's subsequent speculation.
"Really, honey? What do they say?"
"Some people say they know Santa is their parents. And that I am dumb for thinking Santa is real. But, if Santa is parents, then you'd have to set an alarm clock to get up in the middle of the night? And that would wake us up, too...so I don't think so. Also, I think I saw Santa once when I got up to go to the bathroom. When I was five."
"I remember when I was a little girl I heard Santa's sleighbells above our house, right as I was falling asleep. It was one of the happiest sounds I've ever heard."
"It's the Easter Bunny I really wonder about, though...I mean, how can one bunny hide all those eggs and deliver all that candy?"
"You know we're talking about magic, here, right? The Easter Bunny is probably not like Spot. Or...you know? Maybe he is? How do I know?"
"It would be so cool if Spot were the Easter Bunny."
"Here's the thing, kiddo. You're not going to feel sure about Santa until you're a parent yourself, and you realize Santa really does happen. And Santa doesn't care if you believe in him or not; he comes anyway. So kids can go ahead and talk about how he's not real...but not believing? How is that fun?"
"I love you, Mommy."
Note: keep your cynical, unbelieving kids away from my ingenue, willya?