Monday, January 7, 2013

I Miss Santa

Before I had a kid I used to say things like "I don't think we'll perpetuate the Santa Claus myth," and "I don't see why I should have to bribe my child to behave well with some imaginary specter." 

God, I was an asshole. 

As the mother of a 3-year old who has just come through the holiday season I am hear to sing loud and proud: Santa Claus is the greatest invention ever. Better than sliced bread. Better than indoor plumbing. Don't tell it I said this, but possibly better than wine. 

Just the mention of Santa's name is enough to stop a full fledged toddler fit -- which I think we all know have been scientifically proven to be all but unstoppable. His name gets food eaten. It gets bedtimes observed. It brings moments of blissful quiet in times of chaos brought on by too much time in the car, too much time between meals, or too much excitement. It's powerful enough that the words don't even have to be said, that just the thought needs to be present. Meg actually started self correcting behavior before I could say anything, aware that "Santa is watching." She would be on the verge of a meltdown, and then go silent. The only sound from her? The soft singing of "Santa Claus is coming to town." It was half prayer, half warning -- and it filled my heart with Grinchy glee.

Now though, Santa is gone. The world is dark and cold again. 

I tried summoning him, saying that "Santa is still watching," three days after Christmas when Meg painted her toes -- not toenails but entire toes -- with nail polish from her much coveted "Hello Kitty" make-up kit. For a second I thought it was going to work, until she looked up at me with the eyes of an expert and said "he's resting after Christmas, Mom." 

Then later she painted her fingers. 

I was thinking maybe there could be some other seasonal figures to be employed in a similar Santa matter. I know the Easter Bunny is the obvious first choice, but it just doesn't jibe for me. I can work out a rationale for Santa bringing presents on Jesus' birthday. After all, birthday = presents. However, I just can't make sense of a large rabbit bringing candy and goodies to commemorate a mob murder. Yes, I know the ending is positive, but still... 

What about Martin Luther King Jr.? It's a birthday celebration, and maybe he "has a dream" children will behave? Or what about arbor day? Maybe trees bloom presents for children who eat more than three bites of dinner without Geneva like negotiations. 

Neither one has the same panache though. Nothing does. Let's face it, if anyone could come up with another enforcer as good as Santa Hallmark would have capitalized on it by now. 

Now I just have to sit and wait. Use my patience. Hope that if I am a good enough Mom come November once again Meg will fall under the spell of the man in red. If I'm bad, she may not believe again next year, and end up hucking coal at my head. 

Wait! I've got it! Flag day! 

Okay, so I'm still kind of an asshole. 


Anonymous said...

As creepy as the elf on the shelf is, Sparkle Heart, our elf, did amazing things for Mea's behavior. She totally bought the whole thing.

I was struggling toward the end to find places to hide Sparkle Heart, but I would consider the new hiding place struggle year round if I thought it could work all year.

Riot Kitty said...

Meg is brilliant! But we knew that already.

Mandy_Fish said...

Hahaha. I love that she painted her entire digits. At two, I couldn't really threaten my Grace with Santa yet. But I'm looking forward to next year....*Evil Laughter*

Serial Monogamist said...

Huh. So that's why people indoctrinate their children into religion, eh? JESUS IS WATCHING HARDER THAN SANTA AND HE NEVER RESTS.

(Am I going to hell for that comment?)

Anonymous said...

Maybe you need to get that "Elf on a Shelf" doll and keep it up year round? Although that thing is such a creeper, I'd be afraid it would kill me in my sleep. I've obviously watched Chucky too many times.

LL Cool Joe said...

Meg is such a bright cookie I'm surprised she bought the whole Santa routine at all. :D

Unknown said...

I'm right there with you, Girl. You just have to tough it out until Holiday Season.

Phil said...

Libby! You're still blogging! Yaaaa! you might want to read my post about The Elf on the Shelf. Maybe he could take up residence at your house year round.

Phil said...

And seriously, how am I not on your list of blogs you follow?

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Gina said...

My youngest still believes, but I think we're on the waning end of that, since when I try to invoke the Santa is watching thing, she gives a a vaguely "bitch, please" look.

Anonymous said...

Invoke the macabre tooth fairy image from Hellboy (hint it looks like a crippled praying mantis with a human head) and tip her off that it watches while she sleeps waiting for the first day a tooth wiggles free of it's gummy home. Then it comes at her slumbering head and it's only gentle and kind if the weekly behavior chart isn't riddled with red marks.
And this is why my kids all have anxiety.