Like most parents, our family lines up every year at the mall to sit on Santa's knee and tell him what we want for Christmas. The first time we lined up after A. got her hair cut s/he was probably about 5yrs old. As the line inched forward at the Eaton's Centre in Toronto, I soon realized that the Santa that was there introduced himself to each wonder filled child by asking their name, and asking if they had been a good little girl or boy this year. My heart sank. He was going to ask if s/he had been a good boy this year. When I mentioned this to A. - I can't remember exactly what I said - s/he calmly stated, "Don't worry mommy, Santa knows me, he knows that I am a girl, and that I don't like girl things."
My worry at this point turned into full scale panic. My sweet 5 year old was suddenly going to have her belief in Santa crushed. Even the best department store Santa was not going to evade this catastrophe. I grabbed, Ben and made him assume my place in line, while I attempted to tackle one of 'Santa's helpers'. I finally got the candy cane elf to listen to me. "You have to tell Santa, my kid is a girl. S/he will be crushed if he assumes s/he is a boy. S/he believes in Santa and thinks this is the real deal, and will be crushed if he doesn't know if s/he is a boy or a girl."
Her confusion turned into understanding once I pointed out my family. Just before we we all went up to Santa, this angel of a helper said a few words to Santa. When we approached, he said "Hello girls, how are you today?" A. glanced at me, with an 'I told you so look' that almost made me cry. I felt like I had been holding my breath for an hour.
As we left the mall and headed for the streetcar home, s/he proudly announced to us, "See mama, Santa knows me, he knew I was a girl - Santa knows me! I don't know what you were worried about."