It's Christmas time. That magical time of year when parents can just mail it in. All the work is done for them...you've got Santa to do all your dirty work. Kids are fighting?... "Santa's watching"...kids are not cooperating?..."Do I need to call Santa?" Now, with the whole Elf on the Shelf phenomenon it has made my job that much easier. From Thanksgiving when our Elf "Buttery" arrives until Christmas all I need to do is glance over at the elf and they shape right up. If I do need to bring in the big guns I call the big guy himself...I am very fortunate in that I have his direct phone number...I call, put him on speaker phone and he sets the girls straight real quick. Last year the idea of "Santa watching" actually lasted until about Valentine's Day. He saw the girls engage in less than "nice" behavior and sent them a letter reminding them he was still watching. Once they had enough of Santa low and behold, the Easter Bunny is starting to get his basket's together. Good news for me, not so good for the kids...now they have to be on their best behavior if they have any hopes of getting candy...
I recently became aware of people that are not into the whole Elf on a Shelf thing...not because they are creepy looking and make the kids nervous, but because they don't like the idea of "threatening" their kids into good behavior. Hmmm...I must be a sh*tty mom because I kind of base my whole parenting philosophy around that in the winter and spring months. I put in hard work all summer and fall...teaching them the all important life lessons of why you should "be good for goodness sake" and not because you are afraid you won't get something sweet out of the deal in return. I deserve to cruise through a few months out of the year. I am not sure, but, these may be the same kind of parents that believe score should not be kept in soccer and that running races and the like should not be allowed on the playground lest some child learn the horrible life lesson of adversity. I am just going to say it...when I play a board game with my kids whoever wins fair and square is the winner, I don't let them win on purpose just because I am 35 years older than them...But once again, I digress...
Back to Santa as a parenting tool...Santa sent my girls computer messages. Sara watched hers while holding her breath. Of course, Sara, the girl who always follows the rules to a fault made it on the nice list. You could literally see her relax once she learned her fate. Anna on the other hand, watched but not as intently. It was as if she had some insight into Santa's thought process. Turns out she made the nice list, but barely. Santa told her she still had a few things to work on if she wanted to stay on the nice list and not cross over to the dark side. I can't tell if Sara was terrified or in her glory that her younger sibling may have done something to anger Jolly Old St. Nick. Sara says, "does this mean Anna isn't going to get any toys?" I explain to the both of them right now she is safe, but, Anna really needs to work hard the next couple of days to stay on Santa's good side. Anna looks at me and asks, "so I might wake up and not have any toys?" To which I answer, "It could happen...if you aren't really good the next few days you might end up on the naughty list." Now, I know I should never make a promise I am not prepared to keep...but, technically this was Santa's promise. She looks me straight in the eye and says, "that's OK...I don't want any new toys...I have enough already."
That little bugga just called Santa's bluff!!! This kid is fearless! Most kids cringe at the thought of not making it onto the nice list. Nope, not Anna...in her defense she is totally committed to her laziness. It is just too much work being good. I guess she feels the reward is not worth the investment. In a way I admire her dedication. As some of my Facebook friends know, we recently discovered a snack wrapper burial ground behind the couch. Based on the evidence we knew Anna was the culprit. She is the only one in the house that eats fruit snacks and drinks smoothies. When presented with said evidence she originally denied it, only to cop to it later in the day. She promised not to dump things behind the couch anymore. I would check daily and nothing! Wow, she was listening and following the rules. Yeah, right! A few days later I was pulling the curtain back to let some light in and there it was...her new hiding spot...all the wrappers come falling out. Apparently the 10 foot walk to the trash is too much. She is "too tired and lazy" to throw things away. Apparently she is too lazy to even look for a new hiding spot as she is back to her original behind the couch dumping ground.
Knowing Anna like I do, she talks a good game but I knew she would come around. She has really been stepping up her behavioral efforts lately. When she sneaks a snack before meal time she is getting one for Sara too...oh how considerate! The second she pees or poops herself she comes right over, snuggles me telling me I am the best mommy ever and today, she gave me flowers!! (Granted she pulled them out the Styrofoam from a faux floral decoration, but, it is the thought that counts...right?)
So as of tonight, Saturday 22nd at 8:59 pm Anna is on the nice list. I have a feeling she will be getting something under the tree on Tuesday...until then, I like millions of parents before me and millions to come after will be milking the Elf and Santa for all I can.
PS- A quick, funny Anna story that pretty much sums her up...tonight we were all on the couch watching a movie. She has her hands and feet under a blanket. She asks what would happen if she had no fingers or toes. I told her we would help get the things she needed for her. She said, "No! How would I pick my nose?" Sara and Chuck laughed but I was horrified...I asked if she really picked her nose with her toes and she said she does. GROSS!! I then said, "Anna there is no one like you"..."Yes, mom, people like me" she responded...she is truly one of a kind!!