When I fetched JJ from her grandma's house on Tuesday evening, she had just finished helping grandma set up and decorate the Christmas tree. And last week, before daddy and mommy left for Singapore, she helped to set up and decorate the Christmas tree in our living room. On the way home from grandma's, we had an interesting conversation.
She said: "Dad, are there presents yet at the Christmas tree at home?"
"No, Jay," I replied. "It's not Christmas yet. Santa only comes when it's really close to Christmas—usually on Christmas eve. Just be patient, Jay."
"But dad,"—she was suddenly resting her chin on my shoulder—"why is it that Santa only comes when children are asleep?" She added, "Can't he come a little earlier; before I go to sleep?"
I paused for a while before answering, "Well, you should remember that Santa has to go to so many houses before reaching ours. He has a lot of presents to deliver. That's why he arrives late."
JJ was quiet for a while.
And then she asked, "But why can't he come to our house first?"
"Because, Jay," I was beginning to run out of ideas, "all the other houses are closer to Santa's than ours."
There was a longer pause. And then the bombastic question:
"Actually, dad, there is no Santa, right?" She looked at me in the mirror, "You were the one who bought me all those presents before, weren't you?"
And by then we had arrived at our front gate, and I was able to distract her by talking about Willy, the pathetic little toad-like baby fish grandma helped her catch from the drain in Dah Yeh Villa.
Damn! that's a close one. I think mom will have to tell JJ the truth about Santa very soon. Perhaps it's for the best. After all, I don't really enjoy drinking milk and eating cookies in the middle of the night.
But it goes to show that my JJ is growing up so quickly. I hope she will take some more years from now before she starts asking the question about where babies come from. I need a long time to think of a way how to explain it all to her. Maybe I should get Mia prepared to answer that particular question.