Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Posts Tagged ‘Santa

The tooth fairy bites the dust – but where does that leave Santa?

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If I thought I was pushing my luck as the tooth fairy last time DD lost a tooth, I was really stretching it when she lost her first molar yesterday. I was toying with the idea of coming clean rather than going through the agony of creeping into her room and fishing under her pillow without waking her, but then she brought me a little note:

‘Dear tooth fairy,’ it said. ‘I’ve lost another tooth. It’s a special one: a molar! What do you do with all the teeth? Please write back as I love getting your notes.’

Fare ye well Miss Tooth Fairy - we got away with it for four years

Fare ye well Miss Tooth Fairy – we got away with it for four years

How could I disappoint her?

So I wrote a little note back to DD, turning my hand-writing into fairy-writing as best I could (if you’re wondering, the TF grinds up the teeth to make fairy dust, which she sprinkles on herself to make herself fly – right?).

Then I did a dummy-run into DD’s bedroom to check she was properly asleep. Convinced that she was, I slipped my hand under her pillow, did the deed, and skidaddled out of the room, relieved.

Fast-forward to the next morning. The bedroom door opened and DD came in brandishing the note from the tooth fairy.

‘Did she come?’ I asked brightly.

My daughter stood by the bed and looked me in the eye.

‘It’s you, isn’t it? You’re the tooth fairy?’

And what do you do? She’s nearly 10. I don’t want to make her doubt my word when it comes to Santa – a question I know must soon follow.

I needed to pick my battles. I went for credibility. ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Sorry darling.’

‘It’s Santa next,’ said DH sadly after DD had left the room. ‘You know that question’s going to come this year.’

I sighed. I don’t want Santa to stop. I love being Santa.

Later that day, DD and I talked about the tooth fairy.

‘Are you horribly disappointed?’ I asked.

‘No,’ she said. ‘Not as long as I keep getting the money.’ A pause. ‘But now I know why you don’t get presents from Santa.’

I stopped dead in my tracks. ‘Why’s that?’ I asked carefully. Was this it? Was Santa to bite the dust on the same day as the tooth fairy?

‘Because Santa only gives presents to people who’ve been good,’ she said. ‘And you’ve been lying. Tut-tut, mummy.’

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August 14, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Santa’s watching you (and me)!

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I realised the value of this sentence when DD was just two years old – and I’ve used it ever since, especially in December, when it definitely holds the most sway.

But, this year, with DD about to turn a very grown-up nine, it doesn’t seem to work so well, and DS – the rebel – doesn’t give a monkey’s at the best of times.

“So, I won’t get many presents,” he says with gangster swagger. “I don’t care…” and I’m torn between a) being proud of my little Buddhist for not caring as much about material things as his sister did and b) wishing he’d just buckle down and do what I ask without the threats.

Anyway, if I want to get through the last week of term, if I want to get DS dressed, breakfasted and out the door without tears every morning for the last week of what has been a marathon of an autumn term, I need to pull something out of the hat.

And here’s my solution: a free iPad App called Santa’s Naughty or Nice Test.

Just place your sweaty little finger on the scanner and Santa does the calculations. Genius.

Just place your sweaty little finger on the scanner and Santa does the calculations. Genius.

Before you let your little minions put their fingers onto the finger scanner to find out if they’ve been naughty or nice, you simply click into ‘settings’ and decide what percentage naughty or nice they’ve been. So – if DS threw his dinner on the floor, uh-oh baby, he’s been 85 per cent naughty today (“try to do better tomorrow, darling”) and if DD has been her usual self, she gets, maybe 70 per cent nice (“Wow! See if you can get 80 per cent tomorrow!”).

“But you do it, mummy, you do it!” they shout.

No problem.

“It’s just re-setting,” I tell them as I sneak into settings, then place my finger on the scanner while they watch holding their breaths.

“Oh look… mummy’s been 100 per cent nice,” I say. “Santa says so.”

What’s not to love about an App like that?




Written by mrsdubai

December 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Silent Sunday: Don’t jump, Santa!

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All's well that ends well: the children thought he was real, and I was relieved he didn't fall

All’s well that ends well: the children thought he was real, and I was relieved he didn’t fall from the roof.

Written by mrsdubai

December 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Maintaining the magic of Santa

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It was easy to dupe the children about Santa when they were young. But, with DD now eight, we’re getting to the point where her friends know that he’s not real. I’m keen, though, to maintain the magic for as long as I can – if only for DS’s sake. He’s only four – he deserves a good few more years till he finds out the truth.

Maintaining the magic... it gets harder every year

Maintaining the magic… please don’t ask too many questions!

But, each year, maintaining the mystery gets harder.  First, there’s the issue of where I hide the stocking presents. It used just to be in the wardrobe in the spare room.  DD would never look in there. But now she’s older I can’t guarantee she won’t rummage about. If she finds the stash of stocking presents they’re as good to me as thermal socks in a Dubai summer: I can’t give them to her and I’ll have to start again.

Then there’s the issue of what to put in the stocking. If I get it too right – if I put in things that the children actively want, does that make Santa a little too clever for his own good? Does he have a little too much insight into which novelty erasers DD already has, and which she still needs? (“Well, Santa is watching you, darlings.”)

And, finally, there’s the issue of packaging. For years I’ve saved a secret roll of wrapping paper to use on the gifts from Santa. I never wanted DD to say, “How come Santa’s used the same wrapping paper as you?” But now she’s even older and wiser, should I decant gifts from their shop packaging? I just imagine her saying. “Oh look, mummy, Santa went to Claire’s Accessories and Daiso. How did he do that without anyone noticing? Does he wear jeans or something? Do you think it was Mirdif City Centre?”

Definitely Christmas this year is the hardest to date. And I haven’t even tried to sneak the stocking into their rooms at midnight yet…

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December 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm

When Santa came down the cooker hood

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“Mummy, will Santa end up on the cooker?” asked DS the other week, looking dubiously at our oven’s extractor hood. “Will he land in a saucepan? And what if you’re cooking something?”


(It’ a valid, concern, I thought – I always seem to be cooking something these days).

“No, silly,” said DD, a veteran of how Santa gets into our Dubai villa (which is obviously sans chimneys). “He makes himself tiny and comes through the air-conditioning vents. Duh!”

Either way, I decided to thrill them both on Christmas morning with a picture of Santa caught on camera right next to the cooker, courtesy of (see below) Merry Christmas!

Caught in the act!

Caught in the act!

Silent Sunday: The Santa installation

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As Santa pops up in the palms,  I have to admit this is by far the most stylist Santa installation I've ever seen on my compound

As Santa pops up in the palms, I have to admit this is by far the most stylist Santa installation I’ve ever seen on my compound

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December 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Where’s Santa really from?

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Given the last conversation I had with DD about the tooth fairy, I’m not encouraging chats about the origins of Santa, as I’m sure you can understand.

“Maligayang Pasko!” Santa reveals his Filippino roots

Two years ago we negotiated the hurdle of, “Is the Santa I see in the grotto / shopping mall / Polo Club the real Santa?” by agreeing that those were just fake Santas because the real one is far too busy wrapping presents with his elves in Lapland to fanny about in the malls of Dubai.

DD’s question this year was slightly more taxing:

“Mummy, where’s Santa really from?”

“Lapland, darling. It’s very far north, where it’s all cold and snowy.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. “It’s just that the ones we see, well, it’s hard to tell because of the beard, but I’m sure they’re Filipino.”

Shattering myths: Santa’s next

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“Mummy! Mummy!”

Alarmed tone of voice as I’m bending over the bath washing DD and DS, who, amazingly, still enjoy having a bath together (just as I enjoy paying DEWA that little bit less).

“Yes darling?”

“Your hair’s coming out brown on top!”


“Yes, darling. My hair’s really quite brown.” (Between the grey bits.)

Confused silence.

“It’s not really blonde. My hairdresser makes it blonde for me.”

Confused silence.

“Because brown hair really doesn’t suit me.”

I think about giving her the “my skin’s too pale for my hair” spiel but fear it will be either lost in translation or misused in the future. I consider telling her I dye it because I’m going grey but know her schoolteacher will know all about it tomorrow – since I told DD that I’m 40, everybody in town now knows that DD’s mummy is “40 like the UAE”.

“So – just checking, mummy – you mean, you can change the colour of your hair?”

“Yes darling, when you’re older. When you’re an adult.”

“You mean that Stephanie from Lazy Town’s hair might not really be pink?”

Pink hair, eyelash extensions - she's so Dubai


“No darling, it probably isn’t really pink.”

It’s the top of a slippery slope. I wonder how long Santa’s got.

Written by mrsdubai

June 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Mummy tries to be Secret Santa

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Two sleeps to go and Santa’s elves have really let me down. The stockings aren’t ready, and I’ve still a mound of family presents to wrap. I can’t believe it’s come to this; usually I’m so organised. But, this year, for the first time ever, I had a five-and-a-half-year-old to contend with.

In years gone by, I’ve managed both to shop and wrap presents under DD’s nose without her realising. A little sleight of hand; a “Look over there!”; bags left in the car; and a carefully considered “Why don’t you play in your room?” has always got me through it.But this year, DD is watching me like a hawk. She wants to help with the wrapping; she wants to help with the shopping; she wants to know WHAT’S IN THAT BAG.

Just how do you do it when you're under constant surveillance from a five-year-old?

“DS would love that!” she says about dinky little toys and board books we see, and I think: yes, he would, but in his stocking from Santa – so I can’t buy it with you here. I’ve had to make double trips to every shop, sneaking back after dark to buy the things I couldn’t get under the watchful gaze of Bright Eyes, and wrapping late into the night.

But there were only so many late-night shopping trips I could make, so we shopped for DH’s present together one morning.

“Don’t tell daddy what we bought,” I said, as DD wrote gift tags that said, ‘Dear Daddy, Merry Krismas, love from Dorta.’

“Can I tell him we got five presents?” she asked.

“I suppose so. Just don’t mention what they are.”

When DH got home that night, she ran up to him.

“Daddy! You’re going to LOVE the DVD we bought you!” she squealed.

“What?” she demanded as I looked at her in horror. “I didn’t tell him WHAT DVD it is.”

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December 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

The Last-Minute Mall Trawl

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Ho ho ho!

I almost made a terrible mistake. I thought I had Christmas all wrapped up and then I realised, with a jolt of horror: I hadn’t done a stocking for DS.

Not a problem, I hear you say: he’s not even one. He doesn’t know – he won’t care. All he’ll want to do is chew the wrapping paper.

That’s what I thought.

And then I remembered DD. Dear, clever, smart DD, who’s going to ask: if my baby brother’s been good, why hasn’t Santa brought him a stocking?

Oh boy. Shopping mall on Christmas Eve. Something I always try to avoid. If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I did DD’s Christmas shopping weeks ago.

A frantic rush around Toy Store and a dash through M&S with DS in the pram and DD flying behind me, all the while hiding my purchases from her eagle eyes. There’s not a lot you can hide in a nappy bag from a 4-year-old, I can tell you.

Anyway, situation solved. Tomorrow there will be one big stocking and one baby stocking at the end of mummy and daddy’s bed (DD is very concerned about a strange man – albeit Santa – coming into her room when she’s sleeping. We have to write him a note to leave the presents in our room. ‘Hope she doesn’t want men in her room till she’s 40,’ says DH).

Merry Christmas!

Written by mrsdubai

December 24, 2009 at 7:40 pm