Janet Christie: Mum’s the word

Youngest Child utters those coming-of-age words every cash-strapped parent longs for: “I don’t believe in Santa Claus.”

“Good. Because I can’t afford that Xbox you want for Christmas.”

“Aw. Well I can’t go back now, start believing in something I’d stopped believing in.”

“No, don’t suppose you can.”

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“I don’t believe in the tooth fairy either.” She’s on a roll. She’ll be telling me next she thinks George Clooney’s gay.

“But you do believe in God,” I say.

“That’s different.”

“How is it?” asks Eldest, who is furious Youngest has started going to a Christian after school group.

“How can you let her go to that? It’s propaganda.”

“It’s an extra hour of free childcare in which I can work. Let her decide for herself.”

“That’s so irresponsible. Don’t you care if she’s indoctrinated?”

I plump for a simple “No.” It’s easier. Eldest’s ethical arguments go on for hours and leave me questioning my entire existence. Better to be condemned as morally bankrupt.

“What did they tell you about last time?” he asks her.


“No! Did they mention Darwin?” He glares at me.

“No. About the animals being made.”

“OMG. It’s all made up you know,” he says.

“If you can believe in aliens, I can believe in God.”

Maybe I can believe in Santa and there’ll be an Xbox under the tree tomorrow.

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