Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Santa Question

After wishing fervently that Christmas would just go away during my single years, I do quite like it now. Maybe I even like it a little too much, overcompensating with my enthusiasm (when I saw this inflatable Santa on a train for sale, my only question was would one be enough, until DH told me in no uncertain terms that for the sake of our marriage, one would be too many). We're not Christians, but it's a cultural thing to us; the chance to relax after a long year, spend time with family, gorge yourself on food, get into arguments with family and wear shoes with sand in them.

But of course, it's BabyG that really makes Christmas special for me. Last year, he was just a bald, red lump that existed solely to eat and excrete, and I was too gobsmacked by the realities of new motherhood to feel anything other than exhaustion, but this year he's up and moving, he's fun, I can't wait to see him get into the presents under the tree. However, there lies my dilemma. Where do I say the presents came from? What do we do about Santa?

For most kids, Santa is a bit of harmless fun, adding to the magic of Christmas and easily discarded at an early age. I wasn't like most kids, though. I have, as I've mentioned, at least strong Asperger tendencies, and take people pretty damn literally when I sometimes shouldn't. Bad combination for fairies and make believe. At any rate, when my mother finally realised that a ridiculously advanced age, I was never going to cotton on about Santa and let me in on the truth, I was stunned. Stunned. My brain struggled with this paradigm shift, my universe spun on it's axis. No Santa? Everything I knew was untrue? My parents had been...lying to me, all these years? You'd think I would have cottoned on after noticing Santa had suspiciously similar handwriting to my mother, but no. Who was I to trust ever again?

So there's my problem. I didn't vow on the spot to never do this to my children - then and for the fifteen years that followed, I didn't plan to have any children - and now I find myself with a child and not knowing whether to let him in on Santa or not. Sure, it's a lovely part of the magic of Christmas, and every kid needs a little magic in their childhood; but the part where I have to, essentially, lie to my child for several years. I hope BabyG wouldn't react as strongly as I did - he's showing no signs of sharing his mother's traits, loving hugs and people like he does - but who can say for sure? I'm not angry with my parents about this, I'm just not sure if it's something I want to repeat. On the other hand, I don't want BabyG to ever feel left out. All (or most) of the other kids at daycare/preschool/kindy will have Santa, and he won't, and he'll either be sad, or angry and deciding to let the other kids in on the secret. (And what a popular child he'd be then),.

So do we raise BabyG with Santa or not? He's still only fifteen months,  so we don't have to make a decision yet, but next year we definitely will. I don't know what to do.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Yes, I Will Call You Out, Melissa George

Social media is aflame this morning over the matter of one Melissa George. The former teen Home and Away star, who has spent much of the past decade living and working overseas, is being excoriated and defended in turns following an incident on morning TV last week, where Ms George bemoaned people referring to her teen soap star status in the 1990s. It must be bloody annoying to have it mentioned in every interview, sure. She's done other things. Time to move on. Ok, she comes across as kind of entitled and rude, sneering at the small minded Australians she left behind - an attittude seen in many expats - when she says "I just need them all to be quiet. If they have nothing intelligent to say, please don't speak to me any more. I'd rather be having a croissant and a little espresso in Paris or walking my French bulldog in New York City". But that's her right. The Australian media can be an irritating pack of noids sometimes.

But it's her comments regarding the damage done where she starts to lose my sympathy. Ms George has decided she no longer wants to visit Sydney, that it's all too traumatic.  "[T]he stress that this has created in me is not worthy of my health... I just get too upset coming home.''

Really? She is stressed to the point of causing damage to her health because people mention her old job? She can't stand being in Sydney in case the media mentions she was Angel? I threw up in my mouth a little. No Ms George, what is traumatic is returning to the town where you were sexually assaulted. It's upsetting to have to drive past the hospital where your baby was stillborn. It is disgusting to be haunted by memories of major trauma in a place. I'm assuming Ms George has had tragedy and sadness in her life - pretty much no one gets past the age of 30 without having something seriously shitty happen to them, or a loved one - so it's astonishing that she could show so little empathy or perspective.


And you know what? As irritating as it is to get asked all these questions, that's life. If I snapped at someone who asked me stupid questions at work, I'd get the sack, or at least some sort of written warning, no matter how "understandable" it may be that I lost patience. You've just gotta suck this stuff up. The world is full of idiots, and sadly you can't deal with them by telling them to stop being stupid. Anyway, I'm sure there are many people today thinking that if Ms George hates Australia so much, then not to let the door hit her backside on the way out. Not me. I think she should be welcome back here, and everyone forbidden to mention Home and Away on pain of torture. Ms George has done plenty of other stellar work to reflect on. Let's have a couple of years of media attention to the artistic legacy of her role in Sugar and Spice.