Nicholas is like a forty-year-old man trapped in a five-year-old’s body. He uses words like “apparently” and “unacceptable” freely in conversation, and in the correct way. He never ceases to amaze me by the things he says and thinks about and not a week goes by that he doesn’t ask me a question where I really need to stop and think about the answer. But then there are days where he will burst into tears for seemingly no reason, and I am reminded that he is only five years old.
During the holidays last year, every time we saw Santa, he would ask me if that was the “real” Santa or the “fake” one. I don’t know where it came from, but it has continued into this year too. Why would a four (and now five) year old even think that Santa wasn’t real? I have no idea.
Last week, after a quick run to Wal-Mart, he spied Santa coming out of the back room.”That’s the fake Santa, Mommy.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do. That’s not the real one.”
Given his costume, I’d have to agree. The Wal-Mart Santa is definitely not the real thing. I explained that Santa can’t possibly be everywhere, visiting all the kids in the world, so sometimes he uses helpers during the holidays.
Last week, Nicholas got his annual call from Santa, and was awestruck, barely managing to answer Santa’s questions. During the conversation, Santa asked Nicholas if he knew what kind of cookies he liked, and Nicholas said no, he didn’t. “The round ones,” which gave way to a big, deep ho-ho-ho from the merriment-filled man himself and Nicholas … well, he knew it was the real Santa.
Yesterday after putting up with being carted on numerous errands with me, I ended the day with a visit to Santa’s house, which Nicholas wasn’t expecting. As we waited for our turn, all the items that Nicholas had carefully written out on his Wish List left his mind and he couldn’t remember a thing. When he encounters what he thinks is the “real” Santa, it’s about all he can do to answer Santa’s questions with a polite “yes” and “no.” It really is just adorable to watch. The Santa that Nicholas visited with yesterday has a nearly identical voice to the one that called him last week, so Nicholas knows it’s the real Santa.
At five years old, thankfully, we still believe, even through the myriad of fake Santas out there masquerading as the real thing.
P.S. Since this is the same Santa we visit every year, out of curiosity to see how much Nicholas has (or hasn’t changed) in the past year, I dug up last years’ picture, which you can check out right here. And this one was in 2005, when he was just 3-1/2 years old, and The Girlfriend was two-and-a-half – definite big changes from then to now. Hard to see the changes when we see him every day, but my little baby isn’t so little anymore.