Do you lie to your kids? Little white lies – the whole, “time to leave the playground because it’s closing” even though you just want to get out of there without a fuss? Yes? As tempting as these little white lies are, I’ve always tried really hard not to. I’m not sure why, really (and I certainly don’t think ill of anyone who does *cough*allofmyfriends*cough*)….but there’s just something about lying to my little guys (especially Raines – I swear the kid can see right through me) that gives me pause. When my kids ask me a question, I try to answer honestly. Why are we leaving? Mum’s had enough. They want to know about cancer? I tell them. Death? Yup – that too. Raines asked about sex once, and I referred him to Mike, who answered so succinctly and bluntly (“I stick my….and then out squirts…”) that I’m still blushing. (Raines never asked again.)
Ipso facto…..the Santa thing bugs me. I’ve spent the last few years downplaying Santa, being awfully vague on the general topic. I find myself repeatedly employing that annoying-yet-highly-effective deflection technique of stupidly repeating their questions back, “how does he get down the chimney?” [Cue Raines walking away and shaking his head in disgust. CLEARLY MOM IS USELESS.] And I suppose it doesn’t help that Mike and I aren’t very religious – my kids have some hazy idea that Christmas is about family and love…and a couple of guys named Santa and Jesus. [cringe]
But last week, Raines lost his first tooth. He lost it completely without warning. There was no discovery of a loosening tooth followed by days of progress, he simply bit into a peppermint and then complained something was stuck in his tooth. That something happened to be his tooth, holding on by a thread. By the time he went to bed that night, the tooth was out.
“MOM!!! The tooth fairy is coming tonight!! And Mom?? Can you get a picture of her while we’re sleeping????? …Yes you can, Mom! Jayme did when Soph lost her tooth, remember?”
And as we sat on the bed, all four of us, the boys were over the moon. They were so excited about the possibility of the tooth fairy. Was it a girl or boy? Could he/she fly? HOW? How could it fly? Is there more than one? Are they invisible? OMG ARE THEY INVISIBLE AND IN LARGE NUMBERS LIKE AN ARMY AND MAYBE THEY ARE IN THE ROOM WITH US RIGHT NOW and then at that exact moment they found one small speck of glitter on the bed and Lost. Their. Minds.
Obviously, the glitter was a sign.
So Raines got up and wrote what ended up being a love letter to the tooth fairy, complete with drawings of what he imagined he/she looked like (one of each – girl and boy) and he and Pax debated the best place to leave the letter and the tooth while I surreptitiously asked for advice on Instagram (there’s some seriously fun answers – check it out).
The boys – so full of excitement and wonder that you could practically see the wheels turning in their little heads – didn’t fall asleep until almost 11PM. Which is how Mike ended up folding tiny origami envelops at midnight as I practiced writing a letter on a slip of paper smaller than my thumb. When Raines woke up in the morning (5AM, naturally), he found that the tooth fairy had left a teeeny tiny letter (sealed with wax!!) that when opened, said, very mysteriously, “Thank you for the tooth and the lovely letter. I’ve left you some magic.” And as he looked around he found a tiny sprinkling of glitter by the window and a $2 coin (Canadian) and it was all just so fantastic I thought he might burst.
Later that day, Raines brought home a painting from school. He had drawn a snowman on a brown painted ground, and then over top of it, he had painted swirling purples, dusty blues, and big splotches of green. Up in the corner there’s a bright yellow sun, painted so it’s half off the page, the rays streaming down and mixing in with the other colors. There’s a random spot of red in the lower right. I’m not gonna lie; it took my breath away. “Mom, I wanted to make a painting like The Noisy Paintbox [a book about Kandinsky], but I still wanted it to be stuff that you could recognize,” he said with his characteristic seriousness. “But magic, too, Mom. I wanted it to be magic. Do you think it’s magic?”
Oh. He wanted magic, too, Mom.
And just like that, I understood. Raines, despite his penchant for science and planes and World War II, needs magic in his life. Santa isn’t about lying to our kids, it’s about leaving open the door of possibility. It’s early training (if you must) in wonder.
Wisdom begins in wonder.
May your homes be filled with joy, peace and wonder during this very magical time.
All our love,
Shana, Mike, Raines and Pax
We’ll be taking a break for the rest of 2014….unless, of course, the after-Christmas sales are so good we can’t resist chiming in. We’ll see. I’m sure I’ll be posting on Instagram (@shanachristine), and will try to keep Holiday Central up-to-date with sale information through NYE. In the meantime….here’s our last fun links for 2014.
We’re Looking At You, Links…..
A beautiful, heart-warming letter for when your child wants to know the truth about Santa. “Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.”
Shopbop has some seriously killer outfit combos for NYE. In my fantasy life I’d wear the crop-top and big skirt, but in my real life I’m thinking the all-white would work.
Need a last-minute gift?? KateSpade.com is offering FREE overnight shipping if you order by 2PM today! (I’m DYING over the space-themed new arrivals: this rocket clutch, a telescope necklace, or the necklace that says ‘Space Cadet‘ in block letters. I mean seriously. It’s like the designers read my mind.)
I’ve been wearing the heck out of my Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Zinfandel. It’s a gorgeously bright color: not-red, not-pink, not-orange (it’s coral I suppose) but it seems to go with everything while looking unique and amazing.
Here’s a bit of nonsense I put on Instagram highlighting my three favorite things right now:
1. Zady Essentials Sweater, $160
This sweater is crazy warm with an insanely chic fit (think French-girl cool) and sourced and made in the USA. (I’m wearing an XS for reference.)
2. Bradamant Tux Bodysuit ‘the Novice’, $65
They’ve been tweaking their fabrics and fit and this bodysuit is everything.
3. Oxydo Retro sunglasses, $98
These babies are seriously cool (quirky shapes like this are usually Prada or Karen Walker) but under $100. YESSS. (Nordstrom is offering quick-shipping on this whole line.)
Lastly, and most happily, baby Hugo has recovered from his chemo treatment in time to go home for the holidays. I want to stand up and cheer.
As always, thank you all for your continued love and support of The Mom Edit. I have some seriously fun things up my sleeve that I can’t wait to share.
‘Til next year!!
Love this. And love the note you reference on Pinterest- I have it saved. I am with you on all of this. We don’t lie to our boys. We give them the info that they request- no more, no less, as they ask. I want them to know that we are their go-to people for all their questions. While they are little questions now, there will be the bigger questions later. I want the information to come from us. And, I want them to see that lying- even white lies, or lies by omission, is not how I want them to roll as they move out into the world. So yes to all of this- even paying full price for tickets when other friends are saying their child is younger and getting a freebie. 😉
Yet, we do the whole *magic* thing too. And we’ve talked about the different traditions of the world (my sister has a fabulous list of things for that as she is a first grade teacher).
But we’ve always told the boys that the beauty of Christmas is the magic- the magic of kindness and love, of faith in something bigger than yourself (got that from the letter you reference). As one of my boys said, it’s the magic in life that connects us all. And as the other said, magic is a way to explain something that your mind may not believe is “real” but your heart believes to be true. So magic is a big word in our house.
And I too, have one that is ALL science and technology and math and numbers- yet he is the one that looks for the magic the most. As he put it, “Science explains some things- like how the planets hang up in the sky, but mom it’s also pretty amazeballs, isn’t it?” Magic is wherever you look for it…
Side note: I had to laugh at your description of the envelope folding, letter writing- we did the same, when the tooth fairy FORGOT about the tooth! My husband was folding and I was writing….it must be in our parenting DNA to do such things, right? Not something I thought we’d ever do, and then yet there we are in the midst of it all!
Wishing you and your family the MERRIEST of Merry Christmases. You are one beautiful being Shana. One. Beautiful. Being. I so appreciate you and all that you are up in this world.
This is the exact argument my husband and I had a few years ago when discussing whether or not to “do Santa”. I finally won by my insistence that MAGIC is an important part of childhood, and if they can’t believe in Santa, how will they believe in Hogwarts, or Wonderland or superheroes? My older kid is also very literal and scientific in general and we try to be absolutely truthful when he asks questions (thankfully hasn’t yet asked about sex, but we’ve had many conversations about death this year).
I love the idea of “wonder” and I absolutely love what you did with the tooth fairy—I was actually a bit against the whole thing, given the greediness I’ve seen in some kids asking for $5-$10 for each lost tooth—its about the IDEA and the magic, not a money-making scheme! Some glitter dust and foreign coins sound more like it! I draw the line at the Easter bunny, though. I don’t even know how that came to be and I feel wrong secularizing what is an important religious day to some.
Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Just wanted to say your writing about the “magic” and the tooth fairy and Santa and your boys was really beautiful. You have a way with words… this post brought a few tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!
This is lovely, Shana. I have been struggling a bit with this lately – mostly with the notion that, in reality, not every parent can give their kids what they might want due to economic circumstances etc. and how should we convey that? But the notion of magic is so important too. It’s that wondering that gets the scientists interested in the first place, right? (I also have an oldest boy budding geologist/meteorologist/vulcanologist etc in my house). Enjoy your time with your family in MI!!!
Merry Christmas Shana, thanks for this lovely post. What a perfect way to end the year. My eldest is 7 and totally believes in magic. Sometimes I wonder if he is putting it on for me, but it is touching to witness so I am just soaking it in. They grow up WAY too fast to not be enjoying every bit of innocence they have before they grow up and be big people with real world responsibilities. See you in next year! (my awful joke that I recycle every year!)
Oh Shana–it is the job of our children to restore our own sense of magic, of wonder. And they do it beautifully. I really love the NORAD Santa tracker and I think Raines would too. Part of the beauty of the season is that everyone suspends their reality for a moment. And if there were no Santa, how did that Gap vest with the faux fur trim end up under my tree?
Awww, Shana, your observations about life and parenthood always make me tear up a little, and smile at the same time. Thank you for being you and sharing yourself with all of us lucky readers. Happy holidays to you and your beautiful family!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!
We have never “done Santa” with our kids (ages 8 and 10, now), nor did my parents do it and the primary reason is just what you articulated. I don’t tell lies to my children, not even little ones. If I can’t be open with them about something, I tell them as much as I can and explain why I can’t say more. Love Mike’s sex talk, I showed a sperm meets egg animation on YouTube that left them scratching their heads… But the bottom line is that they know that they can depend on me to be honest with them, and as they have meandered into some of the more difficult topics (hello, middle school!) I think that they are more willing to share with me and ask me tough questions because they have come to expect the truth (as I see it). This takes nothing away from a holiday that should be more about love and respect than magic, anyway. My $.02. Rock on!