“It’s just a machine, Mom.”

We drove through a “snow village” last night in our tour of lights experience. It was “snowing” some sort of weird bubble-like texture, and I was loving it. “IT’S SNOWING!!!” To which Kenzy replied, “It’s just a machine, Mom.” How is my 3yr old already a sullen teenager?

Who is this girl? She is already over my over-enthusiasm for any kind of make believe around the holidays. I never understood why the charade of having to be a “good girl or boy” for Santa was a thing–until I had a kid & found myself in a desperate situation where this idea seemed genius.

“Santa is watching you right now.” Kenzy looked up at me (while painting with nail polish on the wall) confused. “How?” “He’s magical, he can see everything.” Kenzy looked doubtful. “But how can he see everything?” (Why can’t she just go with my first answer?!?!) I then told her Santa had installed cameras to be able to see her. Of course she had to ask, “Where are the cameras? I don’t see any.” She did put the nail polish down, though, so I considered it a success. (Also open to any tips on how to get kid nail polish off the wall.)

The next few days, we would find ourselves in a different room–like the bathroom. Kenzy would have a devious look in her eyes like she was about to be up to something. But first she asked, “Does Santa have cameras in this room?” LOL. I died. She was going to get around this security camera nonsense. She proceeded to ask this throughout the week in every single room of the house, hunting out safe spaces to commit bad behavior.

Then she asked again, “Where are the cameras?” “They are invisible,” I told her. Santa is magic.” And then the educator in me felt bad that I was shaming her into good behavior, so I said, “Just kidding. He already knows you are a great girl.” Of course the next day there was a smiley face in marker next to the nail polish. (The only solution now is to paint the wall.)

Kenzy loved the lights last night, don’t get me wrong. “Mom, this is so beautiful.” “Mom, look there’s Santa!” I look back to see her tiny hand up and waving to him with this magical look on her face. She insists on wearing her mask even when we’re in the car, and somehow with it on she looks even more vulnerable.

She is the light of my life. I soak up all her words, wonder how she got such an extensive vocabulary & am curious as to how her mind is putting everything together. When she does something “bad,” she cries, “JUST GIVE ME A HUG” because she cannot stand the feeling that she let me down.

I love her mix of intelligence, humor and goodwill. She could’ve looked at that fake snow and said, “WOW MOM, IT’S SNOWING,” but her recognizing the machines was way better. The comedic timing of her line (duh Mom!) & just the brains behind it was so cool. This year of parenthood has been less about “teaching” and more about “taking it all in.” I am soaking up every single second. In this challenging year, spending more time with her has been the best gift.

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