Thursday, November 26, 2009

Separating Fantasy from Reality

Last year, I posted this blog about my daughter questioning Santa Claus. She's still not convinced, and I heard her ask my husband the other day if Santa was real or if it was just us. He bypassed her question. She's 8 and a half now and this is the age where it's going to come together. I was about this age when my bubble was burst by friends across the street. She had asked last year because Anna on the bus (whose brother is 2-3 years older) said so. My response was, "What do you think?" and she said, "Yes, he's real."

We're at a tricky period of peer influences where her friend F is announcing "princesses are for babies". I know some girls quickly got bored of princesses at 3 or 4, but for my girl, this is a lifestyle. Her whole raison d'etre is to live the royal life, but she's appalled to carry Disney Princess paraphenalia in public. We resort to Hello Kitty now. I've told her that she's allowed to play with dolls as long as she wants. I was actually playing dolls until I was 10-11 years old; I would read books and act out the stories, fashion objects and scraps into houses and wardrobe changes. I definitely felt like doll play challenged my imagination.

Returning to my Santa Claus dilemma, I sought the classic response from the 1897 editorial known as "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." Reading this now, I found it so poignant and so beautiful. It hits the deeper meaning of all these stories we tell our children. There are parents who don't propogate these stories, and tell the children like it is. Like Francis Church said, "You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside," but then we lose the charm of the rattle and it becomes a mere noisemaker. I will share this article with her and hopefully she'll recognize what Santa represents, if he is not real.

Honestly, if she gives up Santa this year, I'll be happy. I've been exhausted holding up pretenses as we shuttle between my house, my house and India, where did he leave gifts, and the whole cookie thing. I even got caught mid-year. I said to a sales person, "Oh, I had gotten her this last Christmas" and she piped up, "No you didn't give it to me. Santa gave it."

Oh. I forgot.

And, the fact that Virginia's father asked her to write to the newspaper proves that parents don't have the answers.


Blasé said...

We'll keep our fingers crossed!

Cioara Andrei said...

Foarte interesant subiectul postat de tine. M-am uitat pe blogul tau si imi place ce am vazut.Cu siguranta am sa il mai vizitez.
O zi buna!

J.Doe said...

Funny that my daughter is to young for Disney Princess parephenalia. (someone at her Mommy and me class gave her a Snow White costume to wear and she cried and cried.)
And I'm 42 and still play with dolls-so you can tell her that you never get too old for them.

Indigo B. said...

My daughter once said when she was really young that Snow White & Sleeping Beauty are boring - "all they do is sleep". She loves the adventure seekers - Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine (of course..)