Monday, September 24, 2012

When goats fly

Always one for the big questions, Mr5 unleashed another tonight... adding another special challenge to my parenting pantheon. We had managed to make it unscathed through 'World's Most Dangerous' animals, where the sole subject tonight seemed to be about male elephants looking for female elephants and how they got very aggressive when 'must' came over them.

He turned to me, questions filling his eyes, and came out with "What's a male, Mum?" Given that I was standing by with hurried explanations about 'mating' and 'must' at the ready, I was thrilled with this one, eagerly explaining that it simply meant you were a boy.

No further questions at that time.

He waited until later to really test my game. When I was distracted by the washing up. After an intense discussion about Christmas lists.

"Can goats really fly, Mum?"

It took me a moment, but I was proud of myself for grasping the gist of this relatively quickly.

"You mean reindeer?"

"Yes," he said. "Those. Goats. The ones that take Santa around."

"Well," I said, thinking on my feet and in the suds. "Reindeer would have to fly to get him all over the world, right?"


"I guess. But I can't see how they can really fly. Planes and gliders can fly. Not goats."

"Reindeer," I corrected again, brain churning wildly. Was this going to be the big Santa talk? Already? I was hoping to get one more Christmas in with Mr8 who, being the eldest and the most earnest, still clings to the belief that his parents tell the truth at all times. I hadn't even considered the idea that I'd be dealing with Mr5 first. But then, I shouldn't be surprised. Mr5 is an altogether different cup of tea.

"Well, lots of people believe they can fly," I prevaricated, rattling dishes.

He thought about it a moment. "I can't see it Mum," he said. "People can't fly without planes and gliders, why should goats?"

Why indeed. I forestalled further conversation by hurriedly switching the subject to Power Rangers, but I can see the writing on the wall for Santa and the gang. If not this year, then maybe next.

It's a funny thing, this whole business. I think I get as much out of Santa as the kids do - maybe even more, now that I think about it. There's a magic in it that sums up childhood for me. But there are times when I wonder why we do it - to them and to ourselves. Because at some stage, for all of us, the reindeer become goats and we realise who's really drinking Santa's Christmas beer.

In the meantime, however, Mr5 and I will spend Christmas Eve this year scanning the skies for Santa and his flying goats.

It should be quite a moment.

Does Santa still visit your house?

[Image from here]


  1. We've always told our kids that Santa is a made-up person, not Really Real. They've never had a problem with it, and they still leave out reindeer (goat) food and write letters to Santa -- knowing that he doesn't actually exist.
    It just doesn't matter to them. The magic of Christmas is much, much bigger than fake Santas.

    1. I think that you are smarter than me, Toni - now you don't have a mess to get yourself out of!

  2. Olivia and I had to have the Santa convo in the same episode as the facts of life. I think we covered the Tooth Fairy & the Easter Bunny too.(Oh my giddy aunt, it made for an emotionally exhaustimg day. For me.)

    I got around it by going into great detail about historical oral tradition. Santa, that is. And how thousands of years ago someone dreamed that "goats" could really fly, and that that became a story that kids loved, and so we continue the tradition.

    Grasping at straws much??!

    In all seriousness, she has had the dreamtime stories explained so much to her, she "got" that Santa was probably true, once. And that it's so much fun for everyone still that parents continue on the tradition....

    (Charlie and Lexie though? They are all together a LOT more pragmatic. Charlie chooses to believe, regardless, as he is a mercenary little man who loves a stash. And Lexie believes because she knows it makes me happy, all the while raising her eyebrows at Santa...)

    1. Love it! And I'm going to use that historical oral tradition thing. And seriously hope I don't have to do facts of life, tooth fairy and EAster Bunny all in one hit!

  3. We had a similar conversation a few years ago. I think my son has kept pretending to believe to get in on the act (he is now almost 8) and to make sure his little sister still thinks Santa exists.

    When the question came up I must admit I just lied and said he did exist (my son wasn't even 6 and had had his bubble burst at school and he also asked in front of his sister who was only 3!) I couldn't bear for the magic to disappear when they were so young....

    I blogged about it here if you are interested.

    1. I recommend that everyone read your post - your list of Empirical Evidence is hard to beat!

  4. You did well, thinking on your feet is something you have to learn pretty quickly with little ones. Mr 4.5 still wants to send a letter to Santa soon but he asks those questions also. The questions that make you come up with answers you would never normally give. I am your newest follower. Gorgeous blog you have.

    1. Thank you so much! Yep, kids definitely keep you on your toes. I feel like I'm dancing en pointe most of the time with Mr5!

  5. I just can't believe you're discussing Santa in September! Christmas hasn't even hit the radar here yet (except for loads of business planning - which is kind of like flying fantasy goats anyway!)

  6. My kids got clued in pretty early, around 3-4 years old for the oldest and the younger ones just sort of grew up knowing he wasn't real. I'm not sure how it happened. I never consciously perpetuated the myth, so maybe they just realised from that. They did learn the story of the original Saint Nick, who took toys to underpriveleged children.

  7. Alison, we have a saying in our house, a direct quote from Santa so I'm told - " If you don't believe, you don't receive" Even my 17 year old has never questioned the existence of higher gift-giving beings. Although, we did get him to hide the mini-eggs for the Easter-egg hunt this year. That probably gave the game away a little...


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