December 16, 2008

Coal for Christmas

My children wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus. I realize my oldest is almost 10, but when it comes to this particular question, I live by the "don't ask, don't tell" philosophy. They know that Santa brings toys to the good kids and they've heard about the coal for bad kids. However, I've never held this over their heads or threatened them with it. You know the "Santa's watching so you'd better behave or you'll get coal" trick? Yeah, it hasn't come up in my house. We have enough to deal with without adding that stress.

Last week we attended a Christmas party at the therapy center where Bubba goes for speech. And who did we get to stand in line to see? Santa himself. They were very excited to be able to tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Bubba was funny. He just kept saying, "But I have so much to tell him!" (Of course he wouldn't share any of it with me.) When we got up to the front of the line, Bubba started getting really agitated. He turned to me with tears in his eyes and said, "But I think I'm gonna be on his naughty list!" He was so worried, it broke my heart. He did manage to sit on Santa's lap and I didn't really give it another thought.

The next evening, however, Bubba came downstairs and told me that Howdy was really upset because HE thought he would be on Santa's naughty list. All I could think of was, "What have I done to my kids that makes them think they're so rotten?"

So I called up to Howdy from the bottom of the stairs (I'm too lazy to walk all the way up there myself). He looked over the railing at me with big tears in his eyes. So I went and sat with him in his room for awhile. First, I told him that he was a very good kid. No one is good 100% of the time, but as long as you're trying, that's all that matters. Then I shared a secret with him. I told him no kid has ever got coal from Santa. I told him it was just something us parents made up to get kids to behave themselves. I don't know if he believed me or not but he calmed down.

Here's my dilemma. When do I tell him the truth? MC wants to tell him now. He's worried about Howdy getting teased by other kids because he still believes. I figure as long as he believes, let him.

And this definitely won't be the Christmas to try to convince him that Santa doesn't exist. I don't think he would believe me. You see, this year we're buying the kids a Wii system. Up until just recently I've been very anti-video game and the kids know it. And as far as they've heard, we do not have enough money for one. So this is what they have all asked Santa for. Their lists were very short, basically the Wii and games to go with it. So when they wake up on Christmas morning and find that Wii under the tree, I think they just might keep believing in Santa a little longer.

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