I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about Christmas. But after all the interesting discussion in the comments yesterday, I thought this might be a great opportunity to get some advice. And some judgments, but I’m prepared.
Get your gavels ready for this one: My 13 year-old son still totally believes in Santa Claus.
One of the features of Asperger’s Syndrome is a very concrete, black and white view of the world. Jay doesn’t understand sarcasm or metaphors. If I tell him, “Just a minute,” he thinks I literally mean 60 seconds. So when he was probably 6 and asked me if Santa was really real, I told him OF COURSE! Because he was 6. I just didn’t think about how far he would take it.
As he got older and kids at school started talking about how Santa wasn’t real, Jay would come home and scoff at them for giving up so easily. “Can you believe those kids don’t understand Santa? They’re missing out,” he would tell me. And I thought, Wow, he’s taking a little longer to figure this out than most kids.
Then when he was 10 and still believed, I realized I had created a real dilemma. How do you tell a kid something like this? How do you choose between allowing them that magic of Christmas (which is totally gone for me) or helping them get on the same level as their age group? Not to mention the fact that I was tired of having to buy gifts from me AND gifts from Santa. Who always got credit for the coolest stuff.
When he was 11, I seriously contemplated giving Santa a terminal illness.
This will be the last year you receive any gifts from me. I have an inoperable brain tumor and the North Pole doctors give me six months to live. From now on, parents will have to buy gifts and pretend they came from me. Just don’t tell any younger kids – let them have the joy even though I won’t be here.
If that doesn’t send a parent straight to hell, I don’t know what does. I couldn’t bring myself to actually do it. But I REALLY felt like it was time to do something drastic – I just didn’t (and still don’t) know what.
Lots of people have wondered if maybe he knows the truth and just doesn’t want to admit it. However, that’s not the case. He’s not capable of lying or hiding something. If you’ve ever been around a kid with Asperger’s, you’ll know what I mean. His mind just doesn’t work that way. He TOTALLY thinks Santa is real.
(1) I tell Jayden the truth. Which he will interpret as me lying to him his entire life. He’ll feel betrayed and question everything else I’ve ever told him. He’ll probably end up in therapy.
(2) I just keep up the charade and end up with a college student who still leaves cookies and milk out for Santa. In the meantime, his peers will continue to make fun of him. He gets picked on enough but the Santa thing makes it 10 times worse.
What would you do in this situation? I could really use some guidance!