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    A Santa tale

    I suppose this will be the last year that I won’t be interrogated about Santa by the kids. I still stand by my goal to not lie about Santa being a jolly elf that delivers presents one night a year. At the same time, I’m trying to be sensitive to my friend’s desire to “perpetuate the Santa magic” and not have G and S2 be the ones to ruin Santa for them. I’ve spent some time this year getting my story straight on 1) Who is Santa?, 2) Is he real? and 3) Why does he hang out at the mall?

    Here’s what I have for now. Length and detail of below story may vary to match the attention span of asking child.

    A long time ago, in Greece, there lived a man whose name was Nicholas. Nicholas came from a very wealthy family. He was very kind and caring, and he liked to help people.
    In the same town Nicholas lived in, there also lived another man who was really, really poor. Nicholas, secretly gave him money to help his family out. Over time, Nicholas’ deeds turned him into a saint in the eyes of people. Many began to call him Saint Nicholas (Saint Nick). Because of different languages, other people call him Santa Claus, or Santa, for short. What Nicholas did, was so special, and so nice, that every year, around Christmas, people dress up as Santa Claus and give gifts. Nicholas’ spirit of generosity and kindness is alive and the gifts we receive on Christmas day are through that spirit.

    There is, of course, a problem with my Santa plan. S, for example, is so fatigued of two-year old tantrums, that he would very much like to instill the fear of Santa (or more specifically the fear of not getting any loot on Christmas day). All so that he could milk out a few weeks of good behavior. I kind of think that if G knows it’s us that are getting him said gifts, then it would behoove him to be nice to us. Plus, at this point, I don’t really think he cares much for gifts, so Santa or no Santa the tantrums will continue.

    Anyway, that’s my Santa tale. Let’s see how it holds up.

    Meanwhile, today, we took the boys on their Santa deliveries. This will likely be the last year I pick for G. I’m hoping next year he’ll decide what he wants to donate. This year, however, on G’s behalf Toys for Tots is receiving a Melissa & Doug fruit crate. He received this for his birthday this year and has loved it. I’m hoping that another child will enjoy this set as much as G has. I was actually a little worried how today’s drop-off would go. I pulled out the unopened toy to show to G side by side to his set. I was worried that if I pulled it out at the Fire Dept. he’d freak out and think we were giving away his set. So now, here there were, side by side, two fruit crates, and G insisted that both were his and that “My need it!” (aka he needed) the second, new set. But it went well. G dropped off S2’s donations in the bin, and then dumped the fruit crate in there too without any protest.

    Speaking of S2. He donated Gum Drop pacifiers. Being a whole 6w old doesn’t really give me a great depth of “toys” he enjoys, so the pacis it was. S2 slept on the job, but I didn’t expect any different from him on this trip.

    I’m excited and happy about how today went! I’m really hopeful that in a few years, G and S2 will be really excited about gift drop-offs too and also picking out the toys they want to gift to needy families.

    Here’s this year’s video of our drop-off. It’s jittery and you stare at G’s feet awhile, I know, but it’s not easy to hold a toddler and a camera and walk at the same time.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q0pl6UDMVU]

    5 responses to “A Santa tale”

    1. Ariel says:

      I love your Santa story and that you aren’t outright telling G that Santa isn’t real. We have already taked about Santa and that he brings gifts to each boy and girl. Like your house we want to limit the gifts Santa brings and also teach him about the true meaning of Christmas (giving). This year Riley is doing a donation of his own (inspired by you I bought his favorite toy), and we are donating a bag of food to the food bank as well.

      I am 100% with you on not using Santa as a reason to be good. I think it is one of those threats parents will never be able to follow through on and I personally try to stay away from empty threats.

      Last year you asked me what is diffrent between Santa and the little mermaid (or other disney movies). I didn’t have an answer but I do now. I have never told Riley that those movies aren’t true, and when we do Disneyland next year, I don’t plan on ruining the magic unless asked. Ryon and I, I think are on the same page, and if asked out right will tell him the truth. But I hope that is a LONG LONG time away. Till then I will beam with joy, when he jumps up and down screaming An-tA (santa) at the mall.

      Wow that was long, sorry.

    2. Rebecca says:

      You might have longer than you think. It’s only really been the last year or so that James has been interested in what’s real or not. John read him a book about christmas/santa at bedtime last year and he asked “is santa real?” and john just asked “what do you think?” and he said he didn’t think so… this year he told me that he wants to believe that santa is real and I said “okay, go for it” all this after we had a long talk about how parents just write “santa” on gifts and put them under the tree…

      Your mention of tantrums made me think of this post that I read recently, might be useful.

      http://daycaredaze.wordpress.com/the-tantrum-series/

      • avalikelava says:

        Rebecca,
        We do practice the “walking away” part with tantrums. Those aren’t the ones that are the most draining. The ones that are hardest are the screaming kicking fits we get when we have to do things like change clothes or change a diaper for example. These are things that need to get done, and chasing after G in the house (in circles) is tiring. Then when you catch him and he wiggles, screams and kicks, it’s also tiring. But again, it needs to get done. Now… like this teacher, we have occasionally been successful in circumventing these situations into evolving into tantrums by getting him engaged in a conversation, or excited about an event, and some sort of “redirection”, but they’re not always effective. And that’s when we feel like we’re at our rope’s end. I’d take advice on those.

    3. Rebecca says:

      That does sound exhausting! I’m not sure that I have good advice, but one thing stands out in what you said, that you’re chasing him in circles in the house, that sounds like a really fun game for him. How does he know that you’re about to engage in some activity that he doesn’t like? do you say “time to change your diaper”, then he runs, then you chase? Maybe you could just pick him up without an announcement? And make sure sometimes when you pick him up it’s for fun, so he doesn’t see it coming? Then once you’ve got him and are changing him, I found at that age that it’s very helpful to talk through what you’re doing in detail, “now we’re going to put this arm through this sleeve…” that sort of thing. And then when Heidi has a strong opinion about not wanting to take off this shirt or wear whatever, I try to let her have her way whenever it doesn’t really matter and give her an explanation about why she can’t have her way when it does matter “sorry honey, that shirt has ketchup on it, so we need to wear a clean one, do you want this one or this one?”

      Then when she does give me a hard time (usually when it’s time to put on jammies) I use the 123 timeout and just sit there with the jammies and say “come get your jammies on” (run away, “no, I don’t want to go to bed!”) “that’s one, come get your jammies on” and then usually she does. She really doesn’t like timeouts, whenever I correct her for anything she says “I’m not going on a timeout!”, so if G doesn’t care about timeouts, then that wouldn’t work as well for you…

      I guess just whatever it takes to keep the tantrum from having positive results from his point of view (fun chase, not having to do what he didn’t want to do, even silly attemts at distraction (once he’s in tantrum mode, be very matter-of-fact about what needs to be done)), but when he does go willingly, do things to make it fun

    4. Mrs. Ziggy says:

      I love your Santa tale, I may have to co-opt that one. I so feel you on the “I need it” as a whole, story.of.my.life. The self absorption at this age is staggering.

      We have those kind of tantrums with Cooper and we’ve found that, hard as it is, that humor is the best way to get through it. Cooper is hysterical for rasberries so the other night he got about 30 of them while getting ready for bed, he was actually lifting up his shirt for me. We still had some tears but it was 5% of normal and it didn’t take me any longer than fighting him like crazy. Another one that is an awesome distraction for us is ” Gilly, gilly, get you”. My mom started it when I was a kid and as soon as the boys hear “Gilly” they start cracking up. All it entails is pointing your finger at them and going in for a tickle, then pulling away and then back in (create that build up) and then tickling them in one spot. That’s a good one for clothing because it’s mostly words and leaves your hands free to work fast.

      When Andrew doesn’t want to get dressed he starts a game of chase. We used to get so frustrated until I realized he wanted the game, so now we pretend we can’t catch him for a bit, then we catch him but he “escapes” and then we catch him and get a shirt over his head and pull it on, then a bit more chase (sometimes it’s just him hoping around on the couch while we pretend we can’t reach him) and then we catch him for good, scoop him up in the air and swing him around and plop down and get his pants on. We often leave feet for in the car. They both always take off their shoes anyway so we let them feel like they’ve won that battle if need be and then put them on while they are strapped in once we arrive.

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