I was very excited a few years ago when I heard the news that my little brother and his wife were expecting twins. Their children were going to be about a year younger than Alaina, and it would be great that they would be able to grow up together. There are many things that you are unprepared for with babies, so I was also glad that I was going to be able to continue dispensing my invaluable wisdom, of which my brother has always been very grateful. In other words, I was looking forward to laughing at him.
I didn’t even have to wait for their birth. That Christmas my brother solemnly declared that there would be no talk of Santa Claus for his children. He was emphatic that he wasn’t ever going to lie to them.
I understood the point he was making and applauded his intentions. I also laughed at him. I have nothing but respect for anybody that refuses to give their children presents from fictional characters for whatever their reasons, I was just very skeptical about his ability to hold to his views. Every time I see a picture on Facebook of his children sitting on Santa’s lap or visiting with the Easter Bunny I still laugh.
There is one thing that will always trump good intentions, and that is keeping our children happy. What makes kids happy? Presents. Opening presents makes kids happy, which in turn makes me happy. They only have one birthday a year. That isn’t enough for me.
I try very hard not to spoil my children. Alaina is at the age where she wants everything that she sees on television commercials. Kayla is at an age where she must constantly procure new clothing. Very rarely do either of them get what they want, but both are reasonably content with what they have and handle our repeated denials appropriately.
They do very well with fat guys in red suits and magical bunnies however. Sometimes I wish there were more of these imaginary characters bestowing gifts. My wife vetoed a visit from Cupid on Valentine’s Day, so I didn’t even bother asking about Lucky the Leprechaun. It’s probably for the best if our daughter isn’t asking her little friends what Uncle Sam brought them on Independence Day.
Alaina is a pretty bright child. I don’t imagine that there will be many years before she starts questioning the existence of unicorn riding tooth fairies, but I’m going to enjoy it while I can. Eventually we’ll explain the real origins of the holidays and some of the non-present related traditions.
I suppose it’s possible that she will be angry with us for lying to her as a child, but I think it’s more likely that she’ll be disappointed that there really isn’t a Baby New Year.