It's one of the biggest lies out there and it makes me insane! And don't even get me started about the true meaning of Christmas...that's not what this post is about, so just back off! I'm ranting about Santa!
So we're in Target today, the littlest ones and me. With the outside temps hanging just below zero, they were bundled to within an inch of their lives and so, after about 34 seconds in the store they started moaning about being hot. Not one tiny bit interested in their overly dramatic display of discomfort, and actually a bit sweaty myself as we rushed through the aisles to grab toothpaste and chapstick, I hurried them along. Three year old Minnie proceeded to remove her mittens and throw them at me. "Pick them up NOW! And start walking," erupted from me just as this striking, young gal with a pep in her step rounded the corner. And by 'striking' I mean wearing boots because they were cute and not because they keep your feet warm and dry. And by 'young gal' I mean clearly single. With no offspring. And by 'pep' I mean she didn't just break up an argument between two short people about why we should get Dora toothpaste instead of Thomas or have to quiet the screams of the middle one when the little one chose the green chapstick, "But NOOOOO! Momma! That stuff makes my lips sting!!! NOOOOOOOO!"
Anyway, this striking, young gal leaned over to my littlest bundle and whispered, "Better pick up your gloves. Santa's watching." Both of my children snapped their heads around and looked at me with big saucer eyes. The middle one said, "He is?" To which I replied, "Nope. But I am. So WALK!" They walked.
Santa's watching...so you better be good. And then what? If you're not good is your mom going to cancel Christmas? Take back your gifts? I don't think so. Does anyone ever actually do that? What Santa would have seen today if he had been watching was a three year old acting like a three year old. Should she be punished or rewarded for that? And what the hell would Santa know about three year olds anyway, he lives with adults...short ones, but adults.
I love the mystery. I foster the tradition. I tell the story of Santa Claus. I've bought into the image created by Coca Cola to boost sales of soda pop during the holiday that has turned into everyone's image of the jolly old elf who lives in the North Pole and has thousands of pint sized employees. But never, will you ever hear me say to one of my children, "Santa's watching", with that lilting, sing-songy tone that is really saying 'I don't feel like yelling at you right now or bothering with the actual follow through and doling out of consequences so will you please just stop hitting your sister and play nice while Gramma is visiting.'
It makes me insane! Do people not realize that this is not an effective strategy for seasonally managing the bad behavior of small children? Do people not realize that if they, the parents are not capable of
The end of the story is that we made it through Target. There was very little crying after that initial incident. Minnie did pick up her mittens. They did brush their teeth with their new toothpaste. Mona's bottom lip is not quite as chapped as it was this morning, and the story chosen at bedtime was 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. What a lovely evening it was...but not because Santa was watching.