The non believers officially outnumber the believers in this house after my three weeks off 10 year old informed me last night "I know Mum. It's OK, I know".
I'm talking about Santa, the big jolly guy, the dude who I rely on to keep my boy's behaviour on track for at least six months of the year... give or take another six.
Just before school finished for the year, he had been told by a couple of school friends that he was a baby for believing in Santa, because you know "Santa is really just your parents". And so for the past few weeks, he has been quizzing us, probing and throwing curly ones when we least expected them.
We fended them off like the pros that we have become. Offshore plastic factories to explain the 'made in China' stickers, a yearly tender between Cadbury and Red Tulip and Lindt for the supply of stocking chocolates, and I was sooooo careful to make sure that for the last 13 years I have used the same handwriting to write those little Santa tags on the gifts.
We had a close call on the last day of school. I had been Christmas shopping and got distracted when I came home and forgot to hide the skateboards Santa was going to give the boys for Christmas. The kids came home from school and saw the skateboards and I threw some flimsy excuse at them about how I had to photograph them and return them to a client.
I got away with it... except now Santa was no longer giving them the skateboards for Christmas and instead was going to get all the credit for the two iPad minis for the little guys we had saved up for and the fancy bike for the teenager.
The night before Christmas Eve we had a slight technical malfunction when Santa was doing his annual test run. We had the blue tooth speakers hidden in the bushes outside the window, the sleigh bells soundwave on the iPhone was teed up and ready to go and we were all snuggled on the bed reading a Christmas book with everyone accounted for so that there was no "But where is Dad" accusations hurled at us.
I gave the hubby the nod to hit play and from outside the window we heard the magical sound of the sleigh bells.
The two younger boys sprang to the window in wonder whilst the teenager, hubby and I all gave each other the smug look that said "yep we rock at this".
Santa was due to loop back around in approximately 0.5 minutes when once again I gave the hubby the nod to proceed but DAMN IT... the blue tooth had disconnected and the sound of the sleigh bells came blaring from the iPhone in his hand instead of outside of the window.
"Was that YOU Dad"? cried the three weeks off 10 year old. "Was that YOU making the sleigh noise?"
"Noooooo of course not" I exclaimed as I gave the husband the I am so going to kill you look, "Daddy is just playing a game on my phone".
"Show me" the borderline believer demanded.
"No he can't" I stuttered "It's a rude elf game that someone sent Daddy. Dad I thought I told you to delete that game" I growled at the husband whilst stabbing him 367 times with my eyeballs.
After I sent the husband down to do the dishes (aka to run around the backyard with the proper jingly bells) I thought we were back on track and had pulled off another victory.
Until last night...
Last night we had friends over and the husband not realising the three weeks off 10 year old was standing behind him, opened his mouth and rambled on about the shop he picked our son's bike up from. The bike that Santa had brought because I had screwed up and left the skateboards out.
"Mum, can I talk to you in my room" came a little voice from behind the husband.
And so ensued "The Talk". No not that talk... the other one. The one where you have to confess to everything and then promise him that he will still get presents from Santa as long as he keeps the secret safe for his younger brother and all the other believers.
There were some tears.
From both of us.
But thankfully the teenager came to the rescue and told him that he now belongs to a very special grown up club who gets to carry on the tradition of Saint Nick.
And so we have been outed by another child and I can't help but mourn the end of this magical era for the little guy.
I figure I have about two or three years left in the youngest one and man I plan on making the most of those Santa filled Christmases.
Do you remember when you found out about Santa?
How did you figure it out?
I had it all so wrong!
I had it all so wrong!