I think G has figured out the truth about Santa. She hasn't come right out and said so, but she turned down an opportunity to visit him at a shopping center yesterday, claiming that she was too big and would feel ridiculous, and she keeps asking me pointed questions like "What do you want to give me for Christmas, Mom?"
She's been full of hip third-grade savviness for several months now -- she likes to tell me that I can't fool her because she isn't a little kid anymore -- so this development doesn't really surprise me. I'm just not sure whether I should let us both off the hook or continue to play the Santa game as long as she's willing to go along with it. I don't think I want her to end up like my sister, who professed to believe in Santa until she was at least 12 because she thought she wouldn't get any more presents if she admitted she knew they came from my mother and stepfather.
It's funny, people say that kids grow up fast, and they do, but from what I've observed with G, it happens in bursts rather than constantly. Ever since she was born, she's gone through long periods where she keeps growing, but essentially stays the same -- and then all at once she takes a leap forward and seems older and more mature practically overnight. For example, the 3- to 5-year-old phase felt like it lasted forever, and then she started kindergarten and wham, she was a whole new kid. The next phase lasted from that point until last summer, and now all of a sudden I'm looking at her and wondering "Who is this girl who's too big to believe in Santa, and what has she done with my little second-grader?" It's not a bad change, it's just unnerving because it feels so sudden.
I will say this, though: Having an older child definitely has its perks. When G refused to visit Santa, I suppose I could have shed a sentimental my-baby's-growing-up tear, but I was too busy restraining my urge to do a victory dance because I didn't have to stand in the long, hot, crowded Santa line with a lot of crying toddlers and stressed-out parents. ("Sit on Santa's lap and smile, dammit!") No, instead, my big girl and I went and had a nice, civilized chocolate gelato in the food court. I could get used to that.