I swear to God Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus!

Rebecca Nelson Lubin
guest I was thrown for a loop this week when my little charge, who, by the way is celebrating his forth birthday today, Friday, December 17th, announced in his bubble bath Monday night that he no longer believes in Santa Claus. I asked him what had made him reach such a huge conclusion at such a young age, and he basically explained that he was finding the entire idea somewhat…implausible.

“No one can really live at the North Pole,” he reasoned, “it’s too cold there!”

I went into spin mode like Hollywood publicists set afire.

“That’s why he wears the red fur suit!” I insisted, “to keep him warm!”

“Also I saw a guy in a Santa suit at Safeway,” he went on. “He was a fake Santa. There are a lot of fake Santa’s. There is no real Santa.”

“Those are his HELPERS!” I said, “The REAL Santa has HELPERS all over the world! Because he’s busy at the North Pole making Christmas presents! He’s probably making you a toy train right now!”

“Besides,” the boy went on like a small little litigator covered in lavender scented bubbles, “Reindeer can’t fly. They don’t have wings.”

“They fly by MAGIC. MAGIC makes the reindeer fly!”

He made a that funny little sound he’s been doing lately, the one that sounds somewhat like a fourteen year old guy saying “Sheesh, ” but leaving out the “s” and the “h” at the end because they are fourteen and lazy and totally smarter than you are.

I have been faced with this moment many times in my career as a Nanny, the magical moment where the children reach that magical age of reason and realize truth for truth and fiction for fiction and can’t wait to let you know that they have figured it out and joined you on the adult side of the shore of the childhood sea full of fairy tales that we feed them. Once on an overnight with Reni who was eight then but now is a twenty-three year old beauty, she confessed that recently she had snooped into a drawer of her mothers and found a little box full of her baby teeth. Weepy, she asked me, “Does this mean there is no Tooth Fairy?”

I suggested that perhaps her mother had a secret deal with the Tooth Fairy in which she had contracted to pay a higher fee in order to keep the baby teeth as mementos, and the follow up conversation with her mother gave Reni a greater respect for grownup’s privacy, as well as a sad farewell to the myth of the Tooth Fairy. She was eight, a respectable age for letting go of folklore. But my little charge was only three years and three hundred sixty one days old when he announced he was done with the whole silly Santa business!

“Who do you think puts the presents under the tree?” I asked him.

“Mom and Dad,” he replied, deadpan.

Maybe it is my memories of the thrill of laying awake and listening for Santa on Christmas Eve that makes me want him to keep believing. I can remember being six and totally convinced that Santa would come into my house through the trapdoor to the roof of our Queens duplex that was only accessible through my parent’s closet. I remember that I whispered to my brother, “I think I hear the reindeer!” I remember the sound that I thought was the Reindeer, like acorns falling on the roof. ..or possibly hoofs scraping. And I remember how wonderful it felt. I know I’m not ready to let him let go of that yet. But it’s not really up to me.

I picked him up from school two days after the Santa discussion, and he announced as I buckled him into his car seat that he had thought over the concept of the Tooth Fairy, and thought that one was full of baloney as well.

“So,” I said, “Who do you suppose leaves the money under your pillow?”

“The Mom.” He said.
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at


LovingNanny said...

I feel very sorry for that little boy. One important part of his childhood ended why too early; believing in magic.
And I don't believe that he figured that out on his own with 4 years.
Very sad.....

Ms. Vivienne LePeaux said...

When I was 9 years old, our family moved halfway across the country to a new home. I began fourth grade in a new school.

One day, out on the playground, I was skulking around on the edges of the other girls' conversations. (I hadn't made many friends yet.)

I overheard one girl say to another, in a tone dripping with condescension, "Heidi? Over there? She's so stupid, she still believes in Santa Claus.".

I was dumbstruck but immediately understood... that was the exact moment I lost the magic. I edged away, feeling disenchanted but also embarrassed; up until then I had been just as "stupid" as Heidi.

Granted, maybe 9 is too old, but just shy of 5? Too young... poor little guy.


Pancoot,Zmugly, woman!
Looks like the average, typical moms me used to work for and sleep with em husband! This blog is so boring, hardly come anymore!

bostonnanny said...

Does anyone else think photo or rebecca makes her look scary and mean?

DCNanny said...

Based upon a little research, I've come to the conclusion that this "Rebecca Nelson Lubin" is not a real person...(let's see how quickly comment gets deleted)

Rebecca said...

DC Nanny - What kind of research? If I'm not real maybe I can stop paying my taxes?

Marypoppin'pills said...

DCNanny said...
(let's see how quickly comment gets deleted)

Are you serious? lol

Anonymous said...

Rebecca is a real person and a good friend of mine. You need to brush up on your research! She is also the nicest sweetest person I know. You all need to get a life. Just saying.

(Yes I am posting this anonymous because I do not feel like signing up for yet another account but I am sure you will try to say I am not real as well).

~Laura G.

Leila Radan said...

Oh MY! SO much to say and I have P-LENTY of time! Here we go!

LovingNanny- First off, what kind of a mushy-makes-me-wanna-puke-at-the-mushiness-so-much-so-that-I-wouldn't-hire-you-as-a-nanny name is that? Children don't come out of cookie cutter molds and not believing in Santa anymore does not make one's life any less magical. I know the little man in question, I know his parents and am close to both AND I know Rebecca and am close to her as well, I ADORE all the people in question and can tell you without ANY doubts whatsoever that if ever there was a little boy with a magical, beautiful world thanks to the abovementioned adults that cater to him mind, heart and soul, it's him! So stop feeling sorry for him and go do something constructive with your day. 'Nuff said!

Though I WOULD like to add that the little man in question is simply beyond intelligent and smart and sharp so much so that he gives us grown-ups (and believe me, this is a set of ACCOMPLISHED and BRILLIANT grown-ups so much so that jaws would drop were you to know who they are) a run for our collective money...

Boston Nanny- Wow... seriously? THAT'S what you have to say at this beautiful and poignant post? And you work as a nanny? Really? I am stupefied AND as a woman who knows Rebecca in person I can say she is stunning and beautiful and lovable and simply AMAZING!

DC Nanny- Really? So you are savvy, connected and sober enough to be able to singlehandedly declare that Rebecca is not real? Are you god? Are you really a nanny or perhaps you're a really sucky government agent? How about me and my site? Are we fake too? Because the fact that I KNOW Rebecca, hang out with her, have hugged her and interacted with her would be proof sufficient to discredit your absurd claims... and it's not just me. Try a large community of people here who know and love her. My advice? Lay off the booze and take care of your kids... P-LEASE!

Rebecca, my wife-ita de mi corazon! Forgive me my GROARish comments but I love you to pieces and this BS, well, it has my Piscean heart boiling! You are beautiful, amazing and a blessing not only to the kids in your care but to all us grown-ups who are lucky enough to be your friends (and wives)! LOVE YOU!

subronska said...

What we have here is an incredibly intelligent, astute, aware child who is his own person. Just because he has chosen to dismiss Santa and the Tooth fairy as not real doesn't mean his childhood has ended too early or that he doesn't believe in magic. One need only watch him at play to see that he is whimsical, imaginative, creative and fun loving...and very much a happy child. Please "LovingNanny" your sorrow for someone who really needs it.

Bostonnanny said...

All of rebecca's friends need to take chill pill. I'm sorry but I have the right to my own thoughts and maybe I thought her article was boring and found her photo more interesting because when you look closely at it, she is frowning and making an unusually mean face. So if you wanna go kiss rebecca's ass go to her house and leave this blog alone.

LovingNanny said...

Wow, Rebacca has very aggressiv and odd friends. Just calm down and relax. It is my opinion that I feel sorry for that little boy, that's it.
I hope your friends don't act like that in front of his face though. Poor thing :)

nycmom said...

I've been nothing but supportive of Rebecca's column . . . until now. The mass response from Rebecca's posse is inappropriate and out-of-hand. We have many regulars on here and we have our own community. It's not reasonable for Rebecca to bring along a bunch of fanatics who insult the regular ISYN readers. Imagine if we all migrated over to the bandofwives (or whatever its correct name is) and started attacking the regular folks on there!

I think Rebecca writes interesting columns, but it is a public forum and it comes with support and criticism. If her columns are going to result in her posse showing up each time to attack every comment by a regular, then I think the price is too high. I'd rather have no Rebecca columns than deal with this. Rebecca's posse needs to get that this is not HER blog and if she chooses to write a column then regular readers of this blog are going to voice their opinions. If she or her posse are too sensitive for this, then ISYN is not the place for her column.

MissMannah said...

Wow, Rebecca, do you tell your buddies to come on over to isyn anytime you need a bit of defense? That was a little odd.

Getting back to the subject at hand...LovingNanny, I'm thinking you're doing some projecting here, very much like Rebecca described in her story. Just because you held onto the myth of Santa Claus dearly for many years does not mean all children need to. Nor does it mean that the children who choose to not believe in him are missing a vital part of their childhood.

Yall are probably going to think I'm really weird for this, but my fiance and I have already decided that when we do have children, we're going to immediately tell them that Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, et al are myths. You can still experience the magic of the holidays and what each myth represents, I just don't feel comfortable lying to my child. I'm just glad that none of my former charges ever asked me point-blank "Do you believe Santa is real?"

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

MissMannah, while I respect your absolute right to make that choice, I want to offer an idea of what you could say about santa.

You see, at the age of 42, I do believe Santa is real. I see Santa in people who toss a toy in their grocery cart and place that toy in the collection bin at the store sfter they pay for their purchases. I see Santa in those who choose to donate money to purchase food for families in need.

I see Santa in a babysitting client who decides to donate unused toys her child is too young to play with to Toys for Tots, helping to make up a huge toy deficit this year. I see Santa in the family that invites people without relatives in the area to join them in their Christmas celebrations.

I see Santa in all those things because Santa, in my mind, isn't simply a jolly old elf living at the Borth Pole. Santa is within every one of us, leading us to give to those in need, leading us to focus more on what we will give to our loved ones than on what we will get from them, leading us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas...generous giving to others.

My parents emphasized the religious aspects of Christmas. I never had my picture taken with Santa, but Santa was still a part of my childhood. Santa was there when I got to shop for gifts for my parents and brother and pick out exactly the right thing. Santa was there when I helped my mom choose presents for the kids at the local "home", and Santa was there in spades when I got to see the tree filled with presents for all and the table filled with our Christmas feast.

Santa is kindness, generousity, love, and caring, and there's no way to wrap that up in a red suit with sooty white fur.

When my charges ask me if there is a Santa Claus, I tell them that I believe that there is, and that Santa makes us feel love at Christmas and all through the year.

That's what I would teach my kids if I have them some day.

MissMannah said...

NannyHood, that is essentially what I plan to tell my future children, but I plan to emphasize that Santa merely represents giving, rather than he is the one doing the giving. Of course I realize small children don't really understand the difference between myth and reality but I just feel that the way the Santa story is traditionally introduced focuses more on getting rather than giving.

Bostonnanny said...

Tales from nanny hood,

I enjoyed your comment and love how you represent Santa and like missmannah, I am choosing to tell my children the truth rather then fill their head with nonsense. I would have much rather read a post by you about this topic and how you would explain Santa to a child then the article by Rebecca who was coming up with excuses about how Santa is real.

I find most of your comments interesting and would love to read a post/article about your experiences, so please if you have time write a feature article.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Bostonnanny, (belated!)thanks for the compliment. We'll see if I can crank out a column or something that MPP and Janre would want to post!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Thanks for the compliment bostonnanny! I might just send something in if I get inspired. :-)

Marypoppin'pills said...

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood,
We would absolutely welcome something from you!