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The Start of School - the End of Santa

Or: Beginnings and Endings

We're pretty terrible at transitions in our house. We didn't tell the kids it was our last night in our Arlington apartment because we didn't really realize it was the last night until two nights later, at which point, oops!

The week leading up to the start of the school year wasn't much different in our house. Except that Liam didn't have school for the first time all summer. And we were planning a not well organized three day trip to Niagara Falls. And Nathan once again wanted to talk about whether or not Santa is real.

So on Labor Day, after unpacking from our trip, with Liam somewhere else in the house doing who knows what, we got to talking about Santa. And this time Nathan seemed anxious about learning the truth. And ready.

Santa was a concept that Nathan picked up from the world around him, loved by some parts of the extended family, kinda ignored by others - everything Nathan knew about Santa he first told us, and we'd added on the most important (to us) detail that Santa is a reminder of the spirit of Christmas - the incredible gift and love from that we celebrate on Christmas - so that Santa is part of the joy and wonder and fun of Christmas but doesn't actually really matter.

That "but doesn't really matter" concept has gotten us out of the "Is Santa real?" conversation for the past two years, but it wasn't what Nathan needed this year. Thankfully, having a three year old who tells you Santa isn't real gives you plenty of time to figure out what you're going to say when he really does begin to believe Santa might not be real.

So we talked again about Santa being a reminder, the embodiment, of what we are really celebrating at Christmas, and we talked about all the things that make Christmas feel magical (even if we could probably figure out how they happen) and we talked about how wonderful it feels to give a gift in secret, and then we let Nathan know that the gifts he gets from Santa are gifts that his family want to give him in secret. And that he can do that too.

And he was on board with it! And I've been told not to look in a certain corner of the play room. And we'll see how he feels about it (and if he can keep his new knowledge to himself!) when December roles around.

Later that night, with school starting the next day, we talked about First Grade.
What are you looking forward to? Learning how to read.
What do you think will be hard? Learning how to read.
What are you most excited about? Reading.
What are you most worried about? Reading.
What do you think will be the same as kindergarten? Having lots of books in the classroom to read.
What do you think will be different? Being able to read the books myself.

So in addition to being ready to be Santa, Nathan is ready to read it seems. And excited for both.

Endings and Beginnings - here's to this next season.

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