Grown-ups really don't realize just how smart their little kids are. Kids are always being underestimated, especially by those who aren't around little kids very much. If you've had several children of your own, you have a better shot at knowing your kids' capabilities....but even that is no guarantee! I would bet that a very high percentage of individuals could tell of a time in their childhood, when an adult seriously underestimated them while they were young.
I have written that my mom was the middle child in her family where there were eleven siblings. The oldest child was my Aunt G. She was somewhere between 7 and 13 years older than my mom. I'm not sure I ever knew exactly what that span was. Because Aunt G. was so much older, she and my mom never really had any interaction until they were both adults with kids of their own. Then there was a period of time (albeit a short one) when they spent a bit of time together.
When I was 4 1/2, my Aunt G invited my mom and I to the Christmas Party of a club she belonged to. It was some sort of women's auxiliary or benevolent society that went around doing Good Works and having Bunco parties! Anyway, I was so excited to go to this party. There was going to be presents, and cookies, and Santa was going to be there!! What kid wouldn't be excited about all that! I looked forward to the party for days, badgering my poor mother to death wanting to know if today was the day! Finally, it was!
The party was in the evening, and now, all these years later, I don't remember much about it at all.....except for one very important thing. The highlight of the evening, of course, was the visit by Santa Claus. Just like all the kids I was so excited, I was jumping up and down, until I saw Santa walk in the room. All the kids hurried to get lined up to sit on Santa's lap....all the kids, that is, except me.
I flat out refused to have anything to do with Santa at all. My mom and my aunt kept encouraging me to get in line but I kept refusing. Mom didn't understand it at all, I had been talking about nothing else for days! I think she was somewhat embarrassed that I wouldn't line up; after all, we were there as guests of her sister and I was acting like a little ingrate! They kept asking me why I wouldn't get in the line. Didn't I want to talk to Santa? Didn't I want to get the present? The only thing I would say was "That's not Santa Claus!" "Of course, it's Santa. He's wearing the red suit and he has a big sack full of presents, and look at the long white beard!"
Nothing they said convinced me otherwise. I had wanted to sit on Santa's lap, but that wasn't Santa, so I wanted nothing to do with the whole thing! Of course it kept escalating as I got more and more upset at being pushed to do something I didn't want to do. Of course, I ended up in tears. I was 4 1/2 years old, I didn't know how to cry quietly, if I was unhappy, EVERYBODY knew it!!
Finally, after what seemed to me like an eternity, my mom asked why I was so sure that wasn't Santa. None of the other kids were having a problem, they all believed it was Santa, so how come they believed it but I didn't?? What made me so sure it was not Santa?
I replied, "Santa doesn't wear ladies shoes! Santa is a man but that is a lady!"
My mom stopped pushing me to get in line, she apologized to Aunt G for my crying scene, but she told Aunt G, "She's right, Santa doesn't wear heels and stockings. That can't be Santa." I don't remember anything more about that party after that, except I was the only kid who didn't talk to Santa.
My mom and Aunt G had a serious falling out a couple of years later. It started over me not finishing a glass of milk (really, the things people fight about!!!) and escalated from there. Aunt G died a few years after that, but I don't believe they ever talked again.
I've always thought that part of the argument had it's beginning back at that Christmas party with it's fake Santa. To be fair to the organizers of the party, perhaps their Santa couldn't make it at the last minute. Or maybe it was just that as a women's organization, they didn't even think about it. Santa was all about the padding, the suit, the hat and the beard. They had all of that, so who would care?
Nobody, I guess, except for one pretty smart little girl whose ability to recognize facts was quite high, but seriously underestimated!