Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mommy, Is Santa Real ?

When I was small, I was raised to believe that Sinterklass is real. I still remember clearly that every December 5th, I will put my shoes outside my house, filled to overflow with grass to bribe Sinterklass' horse. The original version actually is to put the shoes next to a chimney but in Indonesia where can you find a house with a chimney? So every little children who was born in a Christian or Catholic family will put their shoes outside their house ( mostly backyard since parents usually afraid that someone can easily steal the bright color gifts ) . I guess that also make it easier for the parents to throw the grass back to their yard and then place their gifts right next to the shoes.

I still remember how I couldn't wait for December 5th to arrive because I couldn't wait to get my hands on those toys that I would receive. That is why I know that one day when I become a mom, I will teach my children to believe that Sinterklaas do exist! Even now I still think that Christmas is way more fun than my own birthday! To know that at Christmas the happiness is for everyone and not just for me, that what makes me love Christmas more than birthday.

When my son was born, I just found out that I have a big dilemma. Since he was born in the US, and at that time we still live there, I was face with 2 choices, which custom should I follow? The fat Santa or the skinnier Santa? The one flying with Rudolph the red nose reindeer or the one stay on the ground with his horse and his scary Zwarte Piet ? Santa who loves cookies and milk or the one on diet and only his horse needs to eat grass? Think....think...think....

So this is what I finally comes to, because we live in North America, we have to follow US date, which is December 25 instead of December 5. So at the beginning of the month ( December) I like to bring my son to a toy store so he can decide on what gift he would like to get from Santa. This trip usually takes a long time because he usually can not make up his mind and it's my job to make sure that he finally made his decision because then it will make my job easier when it's time to buy. Then when we are only 1 week before Christmas, I will ask him to write a letter to Santa, that way I am sure he will not change his mind again and yet I still have enough time to buy him the gift.

The night before Christmas, I told my son to go out to our yard and get some grass for the "reindeer". He will have to put the grass on his shoes and put it outside the front door. Then he will have to put few best cookies for Santa on a plate and place the plate on the floor near the fire place with a glass of milk.

Then I sent him to bed so I can wrap his gift and put them near the fireplace waiting for him to discover it tomorrow.

Here is the funny part. On his first Christmas with Santa, when I prepare his gift, I put the cookies back to the cookie jar thinking that my son won't notice anything. But the next morning he asked me how come there was no cookie crumbs at all ? He was 3 years old at that time .... Until now that boy still giving me many hard questions to answer EVERYDAY! My fault for buying him too many encyclopedia, dictionary, science books, literature, arts & craft books, etc. He has been bugging me with so many DNA questions for 2 months now!!! Why me and not his dad???

So on his second Christmas, I make sure to eat at least one cookie and sprinkle some crumbs around the area! His dad even made tiny foot prints on the ashes of the fireplace to make it more believable! My son's sharp eyes directly saw that tiny footprints and he was so happy, he said now he knows that Santa can make himself tiny so he can come down from the chimney! So every time we move to a different place, I have to make sure that the new place has a fireplace.

Now my son is already 7 years old and I start to think for how many more years can I keep this up. Then suddenly my son came to me and ask,
" Mommy, is Santa real?"
" Why do you ask? "
" Well... some of my classmates said they know that Santa is not real, but some others said he is real "
" Okay.... what do you think is the right one then? "
" Ummm..... I think Santa is not real "
" Are you sure? "
By this time my brain is working like crazy trying to find the right answer for him, should I keep telling him that Santa is real? But then, he is already 7, I stopped believing that Santa is real when I was 6, isn't' that now is the time to just come out clean with him?

" Sayangku ( my love ), do you really want to know the truth? "
" Yes! "
" Okay then ... the truth is Santa is not real..."
" He is not??? I knew it!!! "
" The reason why I made you believe that Santa is real is because when I was small, I had such a wonderful memory with Santa ( then I explain to him my childhood memory with Sinterklaas ). That's why I want you to have the same wonderful memory with Santa too and when your sister is old enough, help me give her a wonderful memory about Santa too okay? "
" Okay .... " " He is NOT real??? "
" Some part of the story is real though, like St. Nicholas did exist ( then I proceed in giving him a brief story about him ). "
First of all I have to tell you that I promise him that even though now he knows that Santa is not real, but I will still buy him Christmas gifts. If you see his sad puppy eyes, you would promise him the moon too and mean it !

He was quiet for a while after that but in the next few days he never stop asking me questions about St. Nicholas. The more he asked, the more I can sense that he is not ready to let go his believe that Santa is not real and this makes me doubt my decision to really comes clean with him regarding Santa Claus. By next week, I really REALLY regret for telling him the truth because he looked so lost!

I kept asking my husband, my dad, my mom on what should I do now that I just made a big mistake for telling him that Santa is NOT real? None of them can give me answers too because they are as confuse as me. When I was small my older cousin who told me that Santa is not real and actually it was my parents who put the gift next to my shoes! He said he saw all of our parents placed their gifts on their children shoes. Let me explain to you that when I was small, we used to live in the same big house that belong to my grandparents. My grandparents are the old fashion kind, so they like their married children to live with them in their big house. So I grew up with many cousins in that house. It was not always pleasant .... hmmm..... and my feeling to my cousin who told me that Santa is not real is not kind also. I would rather believe that Santa is real for as long as my childhood faith will let me.

At the same time, I happen to order some funny books that I know my son will love from It's called Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey. I order all of his books and not only in Captain Underpants series but also in Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot series.

When it's only 2 days before Christmas I finally give up, I will go back on my word. That day I ask my son that maybe I was wrong after all. Maybe Santa is real, who knows right? I am only human, I can be wrong too right? I told him that I hope I am wrong.

I wish you can see his eyes when I said that.

I can see that the fire is back on his eyes even though his answer to me at that time was,
" Naahh.... you are never wrong ( here you will hear me coughing discreetly ! ) mom ".

Then again I told him that I am only human and off course I can make mistake too. He just look at me but I can see the twinkle on his eyes is back.

So on Christmas eve, I gave the books and one more toy for my daughter to my maids to hide and to wrap while I took my son off to eat out with my father and my husband. To show him that I wasn't out sneaking out to buy him gift, hahaha. Then that night I told him that he can sleep with me if he wanted to see that I wasn't sneaking out to go downstairs to put the gift under the Christmas tree. I was not worry because I already gave order to my maids to put the gift under the tree early morning when they woke up to prepare breakfast for us. I am SO sneaky!!!

My husband even wrote him a Santa letter too, like usual! To tell him that Santa wants him to be better next year, hahaha...

So the big day is finally here. That morning we all wait for him to come down stair. Ooohh... the suspense of waiting for him to see his gift was unbearable to me!!!

When he finally woke up and he walk down from the stairs, all of us were already standing next to the Christmas tree. Then I said ...

" Look!!! Mommy was wrong after all! Santa did send you a gift last night!!! Open it quick please !!! "
My son was speechless, but he came straight down to open his gift and his Santa's letter.

He was so HAPPY!!! And when he saw that the gift that "Santa" gave ( the books ) he was so amazed because he doesn't even know that there are so many books of Captain Underpants out there!I said,
" See, you know that there is no way I can buy those books in Indonesia, but only Santa can get them for you right? "
He just nodded. He was too busy admiring his books.

To be honest with you, I don't think my son totally buy it. I think he knows that Santa is NOT real, his mommy is right after all, but he is also not ready to let go his childhood dream that Santa IS real and he will visit him every year to give him wonderful gifts ! So for now, he rather be lied then face the truth because I guess for a 7 year old, the truth about Santa is just plain SUCKS ...