"Ryan still believes in Santa!" she declaimed to me, back in October. "And the Tooth Fairy! And the Easter Bunny!"
"Well," I said, "you know, that's really his business."
"But he's nine!"
She went around interrogating classmates (there are only six students in Upper El, three in fifth grade and three in fourth) and reporting to me daily on who believed in what, along with the lengthy arguments she gave them for why such mythical critters as Tooth Fairies and elves did not, in fact, exist. (She would make an excellent Inquisitor, I suspect.)
"Dude! I told her, it's just your parents! They write the note! They put it under your pillow! Don't be a sap!"
"Sweetie," I said, "really--"
"But it's stupid, Mom! They don't exist!"
"I know, but--"
"Ryan says when I grow up and have kids, and I see Santa bringing presents to them, then I'll believe." She made a face of enormous contempt. "First, I'm not having kids. Second, Jewish! Third, there IS NO SANTA!"
I grinned a little, intrigued. "What did he say to that?"
"He says everyone has kids. Jesus sends them kids." She rolled her eyes. "I had to tell him that is NOT how it happens."
"Um," I said. "You didn't tell him..."
"Not at school, Ma!" She rolled her eyes again. "But Fern and Sarah agreed with me, they told him Jesus doesn't just send kids, you have to get married and do something first. Which I'm never going to do, so."
"Well, you don't have to get married," I said, "but you do have to have sex. And if you do have sex," I added, as always, "what are you going to do?"
"Birth control," she said, "but I'm ten, Ma, and I'm NOT having sex, Jeez."
"All right then," I said.