For a long time Sarah was under the impression that Jesus lived in heaven with Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman. In her mind they are all magical creatures with special powers, and it's hard to disabuse her of the notion because - well, Santa is magic, right? And Jesus is - well, not magic, but powerful. (It's a fine line.) I'm surprised, frankly, that she is not terrified of little baby Jesus. Because the girl is petrified of anything even faintly magical.
I remember when she first found out about Santa Claus. "An old man is going to - come into my house? In the middle of the night? From out of the fireplace? And he steals food? And - and he's watching me, right now?" She was terrified. She wanted nothing to do with this Santa Claus man, and she didn't care if he left her presents. She just wanted him to STAY OUT OF HER HOUSE.
Every time we tried to talk to her about it, to reassure her, she got more upset. She made me promise that I would tell him not to come by, that we were fine. She asked me to meet him at the store to pick up the toys, then bring them home for her to open on Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve, when other kids are telling stories about how Santa Claus is coming to town and gleefully watching out the window and listening for sleigh bells, she's making us check the locks. We don't talk a whole lot about Santa around here. When we do, it's in hushed tones.
Her fear of magical creatures does not start and end with Santa. When I was filling out the paperwork for pre-school a few years ago, there was a sheet that asked, "Does your child have any special fears," and I dutifully wrote, "Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, magic people, mean fairies, etc." I thought the teacher would understand this extended to leprechauns.
On St. Patrick's Day, stupid me, I sent her to pre-school not realizing there would be a whole leprechaun THING. (Here in my neck of the woods, people go nuts over every holiday. EVERY holiday. This is the only place I've ever lived where there are treasure hunts on St. Patrick's Day - where the leprechauns leave treats for the children. ) The teacher decided it would be fun to tell the kids that leprechauns were in the preschool bathroom that morning wreaking havoc, and proceeded to show them how the bathroom is a big mess, with drawers open, and toilet paper strewn about.
Cue the other children laughing with delight. Cue the other children looking for the leprechaun and finding the treasure and happily eating candy. Cue Sarah getting hysterical. Cue Sarah refusing to use that bathroom for the rest of the school year. Cue Sarah peeing herself rather than having to use that bathroom.
I think she is starting to grow out of it because she DID allow the Tooth Fairy to come by - I think because the Tooth Fairy deals in cash, and she is currently fascinated with the whole concept of money.
I asked her tonight if she would like to go see Santa at the mall and she responded with a nervous smile, "Uh, sure. Maybe." Followed by nervous laughter and darting eyes. Carter patted her on the back then made an imaginary gun with his fingers and said, "Don' worry Sare, I shock him for ya, pow pow." Great. My kid wants to off Santa. But at least he's doing it for his sister, and that's sort of - nice. Right? Right?
P.S. Any of you who are Harry Potter fans recognized the post title. My kids? They would not recognize it. Because we can't watch Harry Potter. We can't watch anything marginally scarier than Barbie and the Island Princess. Elmo Saves Christmas was alarming. Barbie Fairytopia FREAKED. THEM. OUT and they refused to walk upstairs alone for a month, because, you know, there might be evil barbie fairies hidden in the playroom. If I were to show them Harry Potter? They would probably need counseling.
P.P.S. Thanks to a commenter I just realized that "The Proper Care and Feeding of" is not from Harry Potter but from Dr. Laura. So my first P.S. makes - not a lot of sense. But you get the idea.