Santa Claus is *hic* coming to town
“I’d say Daddy’s right. Every Santa I’ve ever known has liked beer.” Oops. I just said ‘Santa’ in the plural. Happily, she’s on to her next thought and doesn’t notice.
“But the Santa at the mall said Santa likes chocolate milk.”
“Hm. I think he wasn’t the real Santa, then.”
“No! He was the real Santa.”
“Maybe not, you know. There’s only one Santa, and there are lots and lots of malls. Besides, he’s busy at the North Pole making presents. Most of the Santas you see at the malls are helpers. So I think this was a helper, and he made a mistake.”
“Noooo. He was the real Santa!”
“Well, I know how you can find out for sure if he was real.”
“You can leave Santa chocolate milk AND a beer, and see which one he drinks.”
Poppy’s mother enters at exactly this juncture in the proceedings. I get a quizzical look. I give her the backstory. Mom is all over that. Because, it seems, Mom also has a backstory.
“That’s an excellent idea, Poppy! Because you know what? I really don’t think that was the real Santa at the mall. You know how, when you told him you wanted a scooter for Christmas, he told you that was no good, because you can’t go outside with a scooter in the winter? And then he told you maybe you really wanted a Disney Princess doll?”
My jaw drops. I make wide-eyed contact with mom. Seriously?? He said that?? Mom nods, her lip curled. What an ass, huh? The conversations you learn to have without a single word spoken.
And what? Is this Santa on commission from Disney?
“Oh my goodness, Poppy!” I am the very picture of puzzled astonishment. “That couldn’t be the real Santa. The real Santa would know that you love scooters, and you don’t care about Disney princesses. What a silly Santa he was!”
Mom and I laugh in what is probably a disgustingly smug and patronizing way as we work in tandem to deprogram the sweet tot.
Rotten, commercially depraved, corporate minion sexist silly fake-Santa, pushing Disney princess on an innocent tot!!
Poppy, however, remains unconvinced. “Yes, it was the real Santa!”
Mom grabs the lifeline I’ve unwittingly tossed her.
“Well, I know how to find out. We’ll do what Mary said: We’ll put out some beer, and some chocolate milk, and we’ll see what Santa drinks. If he drinks the beer, that Santa at the mall was not the real Santa.”
Poppy nods. “It’s a ‘speriment!”
Mom and I glow in the brilliance of this genius child.
“Yes, it’s an experiment,” I agree.
As mom shepherds Poppy out the door, she whispers over her shoulder. “Tells my kid she doesn’t want a scooter. Where does he get off?” She snorts. “Santa’s going to drink an entire damned six-pack. Just to prove the point.”