Santa vs Reality, part two

I am in Grade Three.

It's Hot Dog Day. I know this because I'm staring in disbelief at the red-headed lunch monitor sent to us from the Grade-Six class. She had dumped the entire contents of a bag of chips onto a paper napkin. She dips each chip into the largest puddle of ketchup I have ever seen before shoveling it into her mouth.

I wonder why this disgusts me. I put ketchup on french fries and fried potatoes. This just seems.... wrong.

Suddenly, an idea pops into her head.

Monitor: Who here still believes in Santa? Put up your hands.

I thrust my hand in the air. Of course I believe in Santa Clause! Toys! Chimneys! Reindeer! Flying reindeer!

A giggle ripples around the classroom. I look around and see mine is the only hand in the air, save for the keen, waving hands held aloft by the two Old Colony Mennonite students who just moved from Mexico and probably don't understand the question.

The giggles turn to laughter. Everyone is looking at me.

Monitor: Don't laugh, you guys. I think it's sweet they still believe.

She hoists another dripping chip into her mouth and crunches down.

Where's Henry?

I met Erin and the kids yesterday after work at the pool. They walked out of the dressing room and made their way across the throng of kids/parents/grandparents that filled the sports centre (I believe there was a hockey tournament going on).

Both Erin and I were overloaded with bags filled with wet towels and bathing suits. Alice wriggled in my arms. Erin dragged a reluctant, cranky, and tired Jane by the hand. We were about 15 steps around the corner from the pool entrance when I noticed something missing.

Me: Where's Henry?

Erin: (all business) Jane, stay here with Dad.

The three of us watched Erin rush towards the pool and duck around the corner. I expected her to return immediately with Henry in tow, but the seconds ticked slower and slower with the realization she couldn't find him. She ran back around the corner empty-handed.

Erin: I'm going to see if he snuck out the back door.

Alice, Jane, and I waited. The cement mixer in my chest dripped a fresh drop of cement into my stomach with every second Erin was gone.

Jane: Where's Henry?

Jane: Where's Henry?

Jane: Where's Henry?

Me: Mummy's finding him, Janey. Don't worry.

It was probably less than a minute later that Erin returned with Henry grasping her hand. Henry ran up to me, trying to look strong. He dragged his sleeve across his eyes, but couldn't wipe the unmistakable shape of fear and loneliness from his mouth.

Henry: Dad...

Me: (hugging him tight) It's alright, Cornbread. We've got you.

Thank humanity for kindly mothers in parking lots who know a lost and scared boy when they see one.

Santa vs Reality

Henry: How can Santa deliver presents in the desert?

The same way he delivers them in the snow.

But his sleigh can't drive in sand.

Ah, but you forget the magical flying reindeer.

(thinking) But, there's no such thing as magic. (thinking some more) So, there's no such thing as Santa.

I want to give him a high five. I want to congratulating him for untangling the silly Santa myth. Instead...

Me: So then how do you explain the presents?

Um.................. Santa?

I can think of no further explanation.

Not a bad way to spend a Friday

Jane's plans for the day include building "a beautiful, beautiful leaf pile."

I would like to be three, please.

How to convince them to come with me to take the dog for a walk

Me: Hey, guys. Want to take the dog for a walk?

Henry/Jane: No!

Me: Please?

Henry/Jane: No!

Me: But how else will we save the lost kingdom of Zanbar?

Henry/Jane: What?

Me: We have to find the lost treasure that will restore the ancient kingdom!

Henry: How was it lost?

Me: The entire Island Kingdom of Zanbar was plunged into the deepest ocean for a thousand years, only to be returned as the island we know as Prince Edward Island.

Jane: Who plunged it?

Me: The residents of an alien planet by the name of Troolops.

Henry: I hear the Troolopians are trying to get the treasure, too.

Me: It's true! We have to go and get it! The legend says the treasure is hidden on this VERY FARM! And we have to take our treasure-seeking dog!

Henry/Jane: Let's go!

(Later we learned our family is the heir to the throne of the lost kingdom; our ancestors were off-island at the time of the great plunge. We also banished the Troolopians [who raced us to the treasure] in our magical, one-way rocket back to Troolops. The treasure was exposed when we recited an ancient spell, passed down through the generations of our family as a nursery rhyme. "Round and round the garden, like a Teddy Bear; one step, two steps, and a TREASURE under there." Also, we all have swords.)

Parenting 101

Henry: Dad, can I go outside and play in the rain?

Me: Yes. Bring your sisters.