I was discussing Thanksgiving fun with one of my students, Akiyah, on Monday afternoon. She's seven.
I asked her what her favorite food was at Thanksgiving, and she said "I like the turkey." I told her to guess what my favorite Thanksgiving food is* and she said "...Chicken salad?"
Then we started talking about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and I said "You know, the Santa Claus at the end of the parade? Well, he's the real Santa Claus!"
She looked completely astonished. "What?" she sputtered.
I nodded. "Yep. My parents told me that it's really his only public appearance during the year." (They really did tell me this.)
For some reason, she just looked horrified. "You mean...it's the real Santa?"
This was not the reaction I had expected, and I said "Yeah, the real Santa."
She drew in a long, shaky breath and said "So...he doesn't spray pepper spray in everyone's eyes?"
"Pepper spray?" I asked.
She nodded solemnly. "Yes. My daddy told me that if I try to stay up to see Santa on Christmas Eve, and he catches me, he'll spray pepper spray in my eyes. That's what he does to kids who try to sneak around and see him."
Oh my Lord. I didn't know what to say to that. I just sat there for a minute and said "Well...he doesn't spray pepper spray at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade."
She whispered "Ok," but I'm pretty sure she wasn't convinced.
Well. That's one way to keep your kids in bed on Christmas Eve.
I wonder if her dad also told her that the Easter Bunny carries a machete, and the Tooth Fairy wields an AK-47...
*For the record, it's the dressing. The best part of dinner.