Scene: The girls and I are eating breakfast at a neighborhood diner, when the conversation turns rather randomly to Christmas. Random because it's July. And the hottest day of the summer.
Bear (age 12): I think I'm going to ask for an iPod Touch for Christmas. (pointedly) I REALLY WANT a laptop, but I know I won't get one.
Me (even more pointedly): You think that has anything to do with us already having four computers?
Bear: (heaves sigh at the blatant unfairness that is her life)
Me: What about you, Bug? Have you already started thinking about Christmas?
Bug (age 9): Not much. I like the chromatic iPods, though. They come in pink. Will you get me one?
Bug: I guess I can ask Santa for one, though.
Bug (watching me closely): Some of my friends think there's not a Santa, but I know you guys would NEVER buy us some of that stuff.
Me: Mmm. Where do your friends think the presents come from?
Bug: Their parents.
Me: And what do you think?
Bug (hesitates): I think that it's Santa?
Me: Hmm. You sound like you're not sure. Do you ever wonder?
Bug (narrows eyes): Why?
Me: I'm just saying that if you ever wonder about something like that, you can always ask us.
Bug (eyes glued to my face): You mean if I wonder if it's you and Dad?
Me (striving for blank face and noncommittal tone, while Bear grins behind a napkin across the booth): Yeah, stuff like that.
Bug: And you'd tell me?
Me: If you really want to know.
Bug (thinks for a second): I really want to know. Is it you and Dad?
Me: You're sure you want to know?
Bug: Yes. Tell me. Is it?
Me (nods head quietly):
Bug (jaw drops): REALLY?
Me: Yes. Do you feel disappointed?
Bug (considers): No. (shakes head, obviously moving on quickly) When do you get the stuff? Where do you hide it?
Me (eyes narrowed): Out of state.