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Family Life: Working mum.

Byline: JOANNE WELFORD

WE seem to be approaching Christmas in a very matter of fact way in our house.

I've made a start on the shopping, the son and daughter have long since completed their wish lists and have written out their cards.

The house has been resounding to the strains of Little Donkey for about a fortnight as the daughter practises for the nativity play - and to the sound of the son's violin as he attempts to perfect Jingle Bells for the class strings concert.

I haven't entertained the prospect of putting up the decorations yet but everything else is going swimmingly - until the son corners me. He reminds me we need to have a little talk and that he wants to hear the truth about the big FC.

Under-sevens, look away now.

The son has, he says, known for a few years that the big fella dressed in red doesn't really exist and he merely wants me to provide confirmation.

Look at it logically mum, he suggests. How on earth can one bloke get all the way around the world in one night delivering presents to every child on the planet? And if he did, why doesn't he make things better for children in Africa, some of whom don't even have shoes?

The son does, however, think there probably was someone called St Nicholas but the whole Father Christmas thing must be a myth.

I can't avoid his reasoning. So I nod and remind him that we are having a grown up discussion, away from the ears of the five-year-old daughter who does not need to know the topic of the conversation quite yet.

I'm in the middle of telling my mother how grown up he is being when she stops me in mid-sentence and enquires whether I can remember the time I found out?

It seems that on hearing the truth about Father Christmas from someone in the school yard at the age of almost seven, I then promptly relayed it to my five-year-old sister and brother. To add insult to injury, she says, I made them stay awake all night that Christmas Eve so they could see our parents carrying armloads of parcels down from the hiding place in the loft.

I am horrified and deny all knowledge, it can't have been me and she must be mistaken, I say.

I am about to spout forth the defence that they made such a racket every Christmas Eve, they would have woken a sleeping elephant when sister confirms the story.

I haven't entertained the prospect of putting up the decorations yet but everything else is going swimmingly - until the son corners me
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 8, 2008
Words:445
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