Does Your 4 Year Old Believe?

Jess McGlynnDecember 3, 2013

On Saturday 30 November I was beyond excited setting up the welcome visit from our Kindness Elves.  I had prepared a letter from Santa explaining why they were there and couldn’t wait until morning when Meg and Eli made their discovery.

For a four and a half year old Meg really can be wise beyond her years.  Apart from the fact I am convinced she can hear in her sleep, thereby giving her the uncanny ability to know things she should not, she also has this way of asking questions designed to make you trip up.  She launches them and then studies you as you respond, just waiting to point out if you’ve made an adjustment from the last time you answered said question.  Heaven forbid you should hesitate and give time to thinking your response through, she’d be on that like a vulture.  She’s a little bit evil that way.

So, on Sunday, the Elves were discovered and much exclamations were made over how they had got there and how exciting it was.  About ten minutes after their initial welcoming, Meg came up to me and said, ‘how did the Elves really get here?’  ‘Santa brought them of course’ I responded smoothly.  ‘Santa?  Brought them here?’  I should have noticed at this point the way she had slowed her speech down, the slight narrowing of her eyes as she watched my face.  Unfortunately despite many years in her presence, I was caught up in the Christmas magic and answered confidently, ‘yes.  THE Santa brought them here.’


‘I know they aren’t real Mum, Santa isn’t real.’

At this moment, I was like a deer caught in the headlights.  My four year old had just dropped the truth bomb that she didn’t believe Santa was real.   I was flabbergasted, flummoxed and fascinated all at the same time.  What four year old, who to the best of my knowledge has never been informed by anybody that Santa does not exist and has, in fact, been exposed to many magical Christmas occurrings, doesn’t believe in Santa Claus?

Fighting the urge to call in my Other Half for reinforcement, I did the only thing I could think of and said, ‘Well I believe in Santa.’

Meg then adopted the tone of voice she reserves only for when her dad and I are not fully understanding what she is trying to explain to us, you may know the tone, it’s the kind that leaves you feeling about half an inch tall, ‘I know you believe in Santa, Mum.  But I do not.’

As I watched my festive spirit whizz around the room like a popped balloon, I fought the urge to call her the Grinch reborn and instead patted her on the head and walked out of the room.

Later on we were at my parents house and I decided to have a last ditch attempt at forcing encouraging her to believe in the magic of Father Christmas.  Basically, I dobbed her in to my mum and my sister.  ‘Can you believe that Meg doesn’t think Santa is real!’ I exclaimed in mock horror.

They made all the right sounds of surprise and shock (thank you both!) and Meg sat there, still as a statue listening to them.

When they had finished she said, very calmly, ‘Oh, yes, I forgot, actually, I do believe in Santa after all,’ and I promise to high heaven, although nobody else claims to have seen it, as she said those words she looked me dead in the eye and winked.

I am being humoured by my four year old.


Merry Christmas everybody.

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