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I am a new parent. My interests are secularism, learning, parenting, religion, career planning, and adult education.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Dilemna of Santa

When I first left faith behind me, I felt duped by religion and felt that I really had to learn to protect myself from getting duped again. One of the things I thought that I would do to prevent my future kids from "being duped" was to never lie to them. At the time I thought that might mean not creating the illusion of Santa Claus at Christmas - because I would have to lie to my child to get them to believe in something that isn't true.

Whether or not to "do" Santa during the Christmas season is a common discussion point among atheist and non-theist parents. There are plenty of arguments to go around...

Against Santa
  1. Telling my kids that Santa is coming is lying
  2. Santa has too many religious connotations (ie. based on a catholic saint, imaginary figure that is judging your goodness or badness, etc.)
For Santa
  1. It's fun!
  2. I don't want my kids to miss out on this mainly secular part of the holiday.
  3. It's part of the magic of Christmas
  4. It's an opportunity to see how humans are fully capable of falling for a socially-acceptable myth and figure out the truth on their own.
It's funny, but I am swayed by all these arguments - both for and against. These are all reasons I can understand and appreciate. Really, at the end of the day, I don't think it really matters in the big scheme of things how you spend the holidays - christian or not (as long as you're not encroaching on anyone's human rights).

So, as I said, when I first left faith behind me, I thought I would go the no-Santa route. In talking with my mom and others about this over the past two years, I have seen some push back, but none-the-less I thought, given my values and personal belief,s that I could make Christmas special without Santa, and I think I still could. memories of Christmases growing up are powerful!!!! My parents put on a really, really good show at Christmas and I LOVED IT! Coming out of my room early on Christmas morning, being so tickled at the sight of a filled stocking, new presents under the tree, and feeling so mystified by how it all happened was pretty magical - and then it hit me!

Magic requires a magician!!!! My parents were magicians!

People who create an illusion without giving away their secret are magicians. We know people aren't really magic, but we still enjoy the illusion. And just like learning about how to do a magic trick - whenever we want to, with some effort and a willingness to let go of the "magic" in exchange for knowledge, can we figure out the trick!

So, I decided to never actually tell my daughter there is (or is not) a Santa, but there will be a filled stocking, a special present that wasn't there on Christmas eve, some eaten cookies, and a lighted, decorated tree on Christmas morning. Society will fill in the rest about who is leaving these gifts and how it is done. Whenever I am asked "how is it done?" "Can one man really fly around the world in one night?" and "is Santa real?", I will turn the question around (as Dale McGowan says) and ask "what do you think?" and give her a chance to take the veil from her own eyes. And hopefully she won't feel tricked or wronged by the illusion - hopefully I can help her understand how fun the game is and what we can learn from it.

And hopefully, she will take those lessons out into the world for her own use.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One Year Old

Dear Boo Boo,

You are one year old! How fast the time did fly. The last two months have been a whirlwind of development for you and getting ready to go back to work for me - craziness. As always, you have handled  all the change splendidly. Your caregivers adore you, you are your normal happy self, and just a joy to be around, whether we are playing, laughing, crying, or snuggling up. 

Through October, we enjoyed the final weeks of our music class, where you were just a little social butterfly. We usually got to class first, and now that you can get around with the funniest little crawl, you would greet each baby and mom as they arrive, very much like this...

You also would go around to test out all the different babies musical instruments during song time. It was adorable and lucky for us, everyone thought it was cute and fun! 

We had a nice long fall this year, which was so great, and I liked to take you outside to play in the leaves.

Thanksgiving was a blast because you got to hang out with your distant (but close) cousin, and the two of you are making fast friends.

And you also, stood all by your self for the first time!

Halloween was next and you rocked a kitty costume!

And then we were soon outfitting you for winter!

Then it was time for mommy to go back to work. We have a great childcare arrangement that allows you to be cared for by a loving woman and spend time with your great-grandfather, as well as see lots of your grandma and grandpa. I love that you have this opportunity to know your grandparents and that they will know you in some of the ways that I know you.

The first week you cried when I dropped you off, but three weeks in, you go willingly, with no tears. You are happy and secure in the presence of your caregivers, and I'm just so proud of you. Leaving you with others, even family, has been much harder than I ever imagined. I miss you, even though we have special time together everyday. I want you to know that even though women can have it all these days, there is always some sacrifice, and it isn't easy, but I want you to know that you have the choice to be and do whatever you want, in whatever way you want to do it. You want for nothing, and you have many, many people to love you and care for you - but always remember, no one will ever love you like I will.

Happy birthday, my beautiful, funny, cheeky girl.

Love Mama

Loving you birthday gift from Mama and Dada


who me?

So typical, get a gift, play with the box!