Friday, April 2, 2010

I Let Santa Take the Rap

Don't be confused; I messed up plenty this week.  But I've got an old transgression I need to get off my chest.

When we first moved into our house, my younger daughter was only two.  Although she seemed to handle the transition for the most part, she immediately started fighting her nap.  At bedtime, she'd go right in and sleep like an angel, but for some reason she thought that her midday nap was the perfect time to flip out and drive her mom crazy.  On the days she was at daycare, they reported no such disruption, but on the days she was at home with me, it was a hard fought battle.  I kept repeating to myself that I only had to put her in bed as many times as she got out; I didn't have to be more stubborn that her, only just as stubborn.

A few weeks into our struggle, Thanksgiving passed and Advent began, bringing with it Santa sightings.  Quite to our surprise, our otherwise fearless daughter would claw her way up our torso to hide in our arms whenever Santa showed up in her proximity.  I'm sure to her, it seemed like there was a Santa at every turn.

One afternoon at naptime, I was again struggling to keep in her bed when some noise or creak startled my daughter.  Her eyes got huge as she whispered, "Is that Santa?"

Loving mother that I am, I replied, "I think so.  Maybe if you lay very still he won't know you're being naughty and I'll go check."  So I left her room, where she lay completely silent and swiftly fell asleep.  Oh, yeah.  I was on to something!

For the next week, naptime tantrums were history.  All I had to do was mention that Santa was on my quick dial.  But she got wise all too quickly and wanted proof.  She boldly responded to my threat one afternoon, "Tell him to come." 

To which I replied (Lord, forgive me.), "OK, but you should know - Santa spanks!"  Again with the huge eyes, so I confirmed, "Are you sure you want him to come?" 

A choked whisper, "Yes."

So next thing I knew, I was booking it to my bedroom closet to put on the red suit and wig.

I could probably write a chapter from each episode of our escalating visits from Spanking Santa who, for the record, never actually spanked.  There was the day she noticed Santa's eyes, "Santa's eyes are blue!"  Long, hard gaze, "Mommy's eyes are blue."  There were the cackling "ho-ho-ho's" that alerted a little girl that Spanking Santa was in the house (without Mom having to put on a wig).  And then came the missing stuffed dog.  I didn't know where the dog went, but my daughter kept complaining that it was missing.

I had no idea that she had developed a theory about her missing toy, but was surprised at her enthusiasm when we asked if she wanted to go see Santa at the mall.  We had expected a terrified little girl to tell us no.  Instead, she seemed very determined to go visit Santa.  She was nervous in line, but continued to move closer and closer to the "jolly" saint.  I asked the girls what they were going to ask Santa for.  My older daughter said she wanted an Annabelle doll.  My younger daughter was resolute, "I'm going to tell Santa to give me my puppy back!"

I was trapped in my lie.  I couldn't tell her that Spanking Santa didn't steal her toy without admitting that I was Spanking Santa!  So I said, "OK, tell him."

The Mall Santa had a little trouble understanding the angry demand of a two year old to get her puppy back, but he played it off well enough.  And my daughter eventually developed fondness for Santa Claus.  We even found her puppy wedged behind her headboard and gave it back to her.  What makes it hard for me to be contrite: she went back to taking her nap!

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.  Proverbs 19:5

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