GUEST POST: The Time of Innocence Lost, by Debra Kristi

Today I’d like you to meet my friend, Debra Kristi, a writer and avid reader who’s never as happy as she is when she’s got a chai latte in one hand and a great book in the other.

Check out her fabulous blog here, and follow her on Twitter here.

Today Debra’s talking about a rite of passage many of us with kids have faced or will face: the reality that Ol’ Saint Nick, beloved by so many of our children, is indeed more myth and legend than fact.


“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?  In the lane, snow is glistening…”

…Ah, yes.  That time of year has crept up on us all too quickly.  I totally get into it and you’ve caught me in the swing of things – pulling out the holiday decorations and prancing about to holiday music as I hang lights and place ornaments just right.

But this holiday will be a little different.  This year brings a special task for the husband and me.  Something new.  And we aren’t looking forward to it.  This year we’re going to break the news to our eldest regarding the Big Guy in Red…the Man with the Reindeer…the CEO of Presents, Inc…

You see, my son has asked me on four separate occasions if Santa Claus is real.  I’ve taken that as a sign it’s time to come clean.  But also the sign he’s ready for the truth.  Unfortunately, he has always chosen to bring up the topic in the car…with his five-year-old sister sitting right next to him.  Not the ideal time to break the news.

So, we’re about to go through the rite of passage that most parents and children experience.  We’ll explain the origins of St. Nicholas and how the stories of Santa Claus are still important by bringing special meaning to the holidays.  Of course, once the reindeer’s out of the bag, we’ll need to give the lowdown on Santa’s friends – the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.  Yep, the holy trinity for kids will take on new meaning for our boy this year.

With this milestone, a chapter in the Book of Childhood Innocence will come to an end.  For a lot of kids, they take the news with an air of grace and bravery.  I hope that’s the case with our son.  He’s already asked “the question,” so perhaps deep down he knows the truth.  He’s shared stories of friends who have caught their parents stocking the tree, and professes to have even walked in on me!

I could spend time analyzing what to do or how to handle this from a clinical standpoint.  Should we tell him?  Should we let him discover the truth on his own?  If you read through parenting message boards, you’ll see this can actually be a polarizing subject with strong opinions from both sides.  The way I see it, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.  Every kid is different.  Do what you think is right for yours.

Truth is, I don’t actually remember my parents telling me Santa isn’t real.  But my husband has a very clear memory of having the discussion with his mother.  He remembers starting to question why Santa always signed his name with the exact same handwriting as his mom.  She finally had to fess up, which she did in much the same way we intend to do – explaining how the spirit of Santa is important even if he isn’t a real person.

In a way, it doesn’t really matter if our son suspects the truth.  What matters is that he is young at heart and wants more than anything to believe there’s magic in this world.  Not pull-a-rabbit-out-your-hat magic.  Real magic.  The belief that special things exist beyond the ordinary and don’t need explanation.  Special things that bring joy and inspiration.

Even after we have “the talk” we want him to continue believing.  Sure, it sucks to learn Santa and his friends live only in spirit, but there is no reason on earth for him – or anyone – to not find real magic in other things.  Life is too short not to believe.

You know, I’ll probably be the one who gets teary-eyed talking to our son.  But I do take a little comfort in our decision to not share the news until after Christmas.  No sense in denying him one more year thinking the big guy might be real, right?

Have you had to break the news about Santa to a child?  How did it go?


The Grinch is Pregnant

This time of year you can find my family and I snuggled up on the couch in front of a fire, watching Christmas movies.  We have our favorites we re-visit year after year: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Elf.  White Christmas.  Anything colorful and loud, with lots of singing.

I’m in a store and singing!  I’m in a store and I’m SING-ING!!!

Saturday night was the yearly kick-off of our tradition, and first on our list this year was ‘The Grinch’.  Not the cartoon version, but the waaaaaay-over-the-top-with-Jim-Carrey version.  We love this movie: fabulous costumes, a heroine so doggone sweet you just want to pinch her cheeks until they burst, and of course, the reason for the whole thing, the hairy, mean-spirited, cranky, smelly, but deep-down good-guy, Mr. Grinch.

As we were watching the flick for the umpteenth time, something dawned on me.  I don’t know why I didn’t pick up on it before.  It’s so frigging obvious.

The Grinch is Pregnant.

No, you say.  The Grinch is a dude, you say.  Even if it were physically possible in Who-biology for dudes to carry offspring seahorse-style – the Grinch hasn’t had a relationship, or a fling, in…forever!

Don’t care.  Doesn’t matter.  All of your arguments are moot, because the evidence is overwhelming.  Maybe it’s the immaculate conception of Who-mythology, I don’t know.  But the evidence is glaringly obvious.

Item #1:  Wouldja just look at that belly?  Unless Mr. Grinch is a heavy drinker (and there is no evidence pointing to that), or his diet contains an overabundance of high fructose corn syrup – which I suppose is a possibility, given the combination of the Who’s collective sweet-tooths (word?) and wastefulness (have you seen what they’ve done to Mt. Crumpit, where Grinchy gets all his food?), there’s no other explanation for it.  Even accounting for the high fructose corn syrup theory, there’s one more part of the Grinch’s anatomy that points to his ‘condition’.  Any woman who’s ever been pregnant knows one of the first signs of expectancy is a little visit from The Titty Fairy.  And the Grinch is no exception.  Sure, they’re hairy and green, but Mother Nature’s pre-natal blessings are unmistakably there.


Item #2:  The Grinch’s taste in food is…strange…to say the least.  At one point we see him wolfing down an uncooked onion, skin and all.  At the end of the film, when all is right in Whoville and Mr. Grinch is carving the roast-beast, he asks “Who wants the gizzard?”  A cry of  “I do!” is swiftly denied, as the Grinch declares himself eater of said gizzard.  This is indicative of pregnancy for two reasons: (1) Only somebody with seriously screwed up taste-buds (aka, a pregnant person) would enjoy eating gizzards (I call liar on anybody else who says they like ’em), and (2) Only a pregnant person would be mean enough to offer food, renege on the offer, and then eat it in front of the person he/she just jipped.

Finally, while being honored as the Holiday Cheermeister, we see him gorging himself on pudding, fruitcake, and fudge – which he does almost violently, shouting such phrases as Bring it on! and That all you got? between mouthfuls.  Only one brand of person eats with such voracity: a pregnant one.

Item #3:  Mood swings.  And lots of ’em.  From euphorically happy to crushingly depressed; hateful and revenge-filled to helpful and downright sweet, Mr. Grinch runs the gambit of emotions.  Something, I daresay, every pregnant woman is familiar with.

Item #4:  The Grinch decides to attend the Who’s Christmas festivities, because he feels he deserves an award.  Pregnant women often feel this way (in fact, I do, at this very moment).  I mean, come on, we’re making life here.  Give me a crown, sparkly clothes, and a check, and make it snappy before one of those apocalyptic mood-swings (that could literally put an end to your life as you know it) descends in its furious glory of hell-fire and brimstone.

But *ahem* we’re talking about the Grinch, not me.  (That, by the way, is another nod in the the Grinch-is-preggo argument.  Many pregnant women – except for me – are unintentionally self-absorbed.  Except for me.  The Grinch suffers from this affliction.  But I don’t.  Not me.  Never me.  Me, me, me.)

Item #5:  Any mother-to-be will tell you, finding cute clothes that fit well during pregnancy is a pain in her ever-widening derriere.  The Grinch is no exception.  When trying to find something decent to wear to accept the Holiday Cheermeister award, we see him tearing through his closet, unhappy with how everything looks on his rounded, pear-shaped body.  Ultimately, he settles on a pair of lederhosen (which of us preggos haven’t, in our hormone-fueled need to look cute, tried out the well-intentioned, but desperately horrible coveralls look?) stolen from the Who version of the Ricola guy.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  And any woman with the bun in the oven will tell you, a looming holiday party where you’re to be the guest of honor is a desperate time.

Item #6:  Pregnancy sends all kinds of freaky-crazy-ridiculous amounts of hormones rushing through the body, causing all kinds of interesting things to happen.  The list of things that change in unpleasant ways is long, but for the sake of time-conservation, I’ll only deal with two: Bad breath and body hair.  While it is true that the Grinch was hairy as a child, I’d say he’s had a fair bit of unusual growth at the time the movie was filmed.  I can vouch for the validity of this: If it weren’t for my daily plucking/waxing/shaving regimen, I would be utterly unrecognizable during pregnancy.  Secondly, his breath is bad.  Really bad.  At one point, he makes a poor, defenseless Who pass out just by breathing on him.  I could easily do the same to you, dear reader, if it weren’t for the obsessive amount of tooth-brushing, flossing, and rinsing I do these days.

There it is.  My argument for the fact that Mr. Grinch is indeed with child.  Do you agree with my observations, or would you rather believe this post is simply the mad ramblings of a pregnant woman who currently sees the world through childbearing-glasses?