Kaeden came home with a letter from school this week. "Here mom, it's a stupid note," he says handing it to me. "Just check YES on all of it. You don't even have to read it."

I took the note and read it anyway. It was about Sinterklaas and whether our children believe in him and our thoughts on him being in the school. I did check yes to the following questions, as Kaeden read them to me. 1) Does your child have interest in Sinterklaas? 2) Do you think Sint should visit the school? 3) Does Sint bring you gifts and candy at home?

As he read, he tells me, "Of course I have interest in Sinterklaas. Why wouldn't someone be interested in Sint? And even when I was little Sint came to visit at school. WHy should he stop coming now? It's fun to have Sinterklaas visit us at school. And this is the dumbest question. Does he bring presents? HA Of course he does. That's what Sinterklaas does. He brings kids presents."

I didn't discuss the issue further with him, he was already aggitated from the necessity of the note.

Yesterday, I was in a warehouse with the boys. Sinterklaas costumes hung on racks by the door and I sneakily diverted Jari away to look at Lego. However, Kaeden saw the costumes and called for his little brother. "Jari, look! Sinterklaas...lots and lots of Sinterklaas." I hushed Kaeden and gave him 'the look' and told him I would rather Jari not see all the costumes for sale. Kaeden looked at me strangely and then whispers "Oh yeah, that's because Sinterklaas is not real, huh mom? You put presents in our shoes, right mom?"

I can't bring myself to say he doesn't exist. In my mind, I know he is alive and well. I also worry that telling Kaeden the entire truth would ruin the magic for my little guy in his last moments of believing. I told Kaeden that just because Sinterklaas doesn't come and put gifts in your shoe, doesn't make him less real. What is real is the feeling he brings, the excitement in your heart. I am not sure that he understands completely, and in this way I am taking advantage of his autism. His desire to have Sinterklaas be real is strong, and in his mind he does exist. I'm not sure it is fair, but that's how it is. Here, in our home, he lives on.

Jari got a chocolate cigar in his shoe a couple days ago. Chocolate cigars are a typical treat for children to receive in Belgium. However, when he pulled it out of his shoe it was a bit wet and broke in half (from his shoes worn out in the wet and muddy fields the night before). "Mama, Amerigo (Sint's horse that carries him from house to house) licked on my candy!!! I didn't know he liked to eat chocolate too!" Jari was gleeful considering this horse ate his candy...and even though he had horse germs, he polished off his treat.

Sinterklaas is back...and I believe in the magic...


Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like he understands,perhaps instictivly, that it doesn't have to be 'real' to be real. He enjoys the tradition and that's real enough for him. :)

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I love your explanation - it's the same one I gave to my boys about Santa. And I had to laugh at Kaeden's attitude about the note from school - Nigel is the same way with notes from school, regardless of the subject matter!

Jen (emeraldsunshine.org) said...

What a sweet story! I love that Jari thought the horse licked his candy... This year is the first year my kids (6 and 4) really understand the whole Santa concept. They are so excited and it really brings me back to being excited about gift giving and the holidays. Having children is just wonderful!

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