We got our first real dose of winter this week with our first dump of snow of any size. Sure, we had a few flurries a couple of weeks ago — enough to stick to the ground for a few days — but this week was the first real whallop.
To say the kid was excited is to understate things, slightly.
Notwithstanding the slightly raspy voice (she's just getting clear of a cold) I think the excitement is palpable. It barely took 10 minutes to go from that scene to her standing knee deep in the front yard, diving and flopping and generally celebrating the real start of the season.
Yes, my kid is a winter kid. I don't know if it's a result of being born in January or just the hearty genes she inherited from my family in Northern Ontario but she's been asking "when is it going to be snowy?" since... August. We call it her "Spirit of the North" and, as a bit of a fan of winter myself, I love it.
Bring on the snow days. We've got playing to do.
The kid and I were on another one of our Daddy-Daughter Dinner Dates tonight when I suggested we record an "interview" when we got home, using the nice new podcasting mic Mommy bought for me. She agreed. Then when it came time to record, she informed me she was going first.
The tables. They turned.
My kid has been pumped about Christmas since... last Christmas, maybe?
Her enthusiasm has reached a fever pitch in the past few weeks though, largely been fuelled by the knowledge that her out-of-town grandparents AND one of her out-of-town aunts will be staying here. Well, that and her "list" — an inventory of the various toys and games she's seen that she really, really wants to get the moment she sees them.
We've used "the list" as a distraction, more than anything; a way to acknowledge her desire to have that toy without actually buying her the toy. "We'll think about your list at Christmas and your birthday and times like that when we get you presents," we explain, while stressing that she won't be getting everything from her list, just that we'll use it as a source of inspiration. But somehow she's come to decide it's her Christmas list, just as so many other kids do, which has us considering the inevitable "letter to Santa" phase.
See, if you remember my post of almost a year ago (you do remember all of my posts, right?), we've opted to take an honest — if not wholly proactive — approach to the whole Santa thing. While passing no judgement on those parents who play up the Kris Kringle angle, we've decided we're not comfortable indulging in it ourselves. We won't go out of our way to make the point, mind you, but when push comes to shove we're not going to go out of our way to continue the story either.
So if the kid does ask to loop the Big Guy into her list keeping, we're going to make it clear that nothing changes. There'll be no gifts under the tree marked "from Santa" and she'll be reminded that money isn't unlimited, Christmas is about more than gifts and that she shouldn't expect to get everything she wants.
But oh man was that an easier stance to be comfortable with last year, when the kid spent her days at home with Mom and — as a not-quite-three-year-old girl — the line between fantasy and reality was so blurred as to render "real or not" discussions largely useless.
This year she's much more keenly aware of the difference between make-believe and real. "Daddy, my dog is just a toy, he's not real," she'll say when I ask her stuffed dog if he needs to go outside to pee.
Oh and she spends 10 hours a week at pre-school.
With other kids.
Who listen to things she says and, often, takes them at face value.
Add that to the fact that she takes great delight in correcting people and the odds that my kid will be the one to ruin the Santa story for a class full of three year olds are... pretty damn close to 100 per cent.
So how do we stick to our honest approach to Christmas with our kid while ensuring she doesn't ruin it for others? Any advice, yummy mummies?