I had to share this.
I’ve just had what is perhaps one of the greatest conversations in my life. It was with my five year old son; on the subject of the existance of Santa Claus. My ex-girlfriend told my son that Santa Claus is real. And to overcome my previous denial of the claim she spiced it up with some stories based on her “personal experience.” I will not attempt to spice up or attempt to alter the conversation with my son in any way.
Son: Santa Claus is real.
Me: No. He is pretend.
Son: No. I went to sleep and when I woke up there was candy in my baby socks.
Me: I’m pretty sure that was put there by your mother or your grandparents.
Son: Mom said she heard Santa come in at night. I was asleep, grandma and grandpa was asleep, everyone was asleep, so they couldn’t put the candy in there.
Me: Well “everyone” wasn’t asleep. Your mom was awake. What’s more likely? Your mom or your grandparents put the candy in the sock or a magical being did it?
Son: Santa Claus. You can hear stuff when you’re asleep.
Me: True; you can hear things when you’re asleep; but to know you heard something you must be awake. Your mom knows she heard Santa Claus – so she was awake.
Son: Santa is real. He is not pretend.
Me: He is pretend. Like your doggy and blanky. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with Santa. Like you do with blanky and doggy.
At this point I’m thinking I need to grab my phone and Youtube this. But I didn’t want to break the flow.
Son: Santa is real and he’s one hundred and fifty.
Me: One hundred and fifty.
Son: Yes. One hundred and fifty years old.
This is where I got him. We had been talking about human life span earlier in the night. I had told him that the oldest a person has lived was one hundred and twenty five years old.
Me: You said Santa is a hundred and fifty years old? Real people don’t live to be a hundred and fifty years old. If Santa is a hundred and fifty years old he can’t be real. If he is a hundred and fifty he’s pretend.
He smiles. He knows he’s messed up and I am a proud father because I am watching my son reason his way through this conversation.
Son: No. “I” think he’s a hundred and fifty years old.
Me: Yes! If you believe he’s a hundred and fifty then he’s pretend because real people don’t live to be a hundred and fifty.
He laughs. Pause.
Son: “I” think he’s a hundred and fifty years old.
The next step is the obvious step; Google.
Me: You know there is a real person that Santa Claus is based on.
He looks at me puzzled.
Me: Yes. Saint Nicholas.
Son: A real person became a pretend person?
Me: Yes. He was a real person but he died a long time ago.
Son: How come?
Me: He got old and died.
Me: People get old and they die.
Son: When you die can I make you pretend?
Me: Yes. You can tell your kids and grandkids about me.
I laugh. We Google. And find that Santa stopped counting his birthdays after five hundred and fifty.
Me: See, he must be pretend, no person can live to be five hundred and fifty.
Son: He’s pretend.
It was an awsome conversation. I think he accepted losing the argument – but I’m pretty sure he still believes in Santa Claus. It’s too good a story to let go.