Friday, December 25, 2009
A few years ago we came to decide on the whole Santa thing. The Santa Conspiracy, I call it. We do Santa. But, at least in my opinion, not to excess. We don't visit Santa or talk about it too terribly much. I only threatened once this season that the ramifications of misbehaviour might be Santa skipping our house at Christmas.
When Jackson was 5, he believed. Mr. Born-Curious-Very-Analytical had a LOT of questions, but mostly, the guy in the red suit was pure magic.
When Jackson was 6, he had more questions. He knew, I think, in his heart of hearts. But then we went to Christmas party at Husband's work where a 25 year old slender graduate student dressed up as a completely unconvincing Santa and that was concrete enough for the J Boy.
When Jackson was 7, he googled "is Santa real?" and came across 11.6 million hits, many of which were magic-inhibiting. He didn't really read many of the hits as I think he wanted the magic to remain.
Now that Jackson is 8, I think 97% of him does not believe. But 3% does. He has been able to channel all the 3% into the waking hours of December so really, he's charmed by the big red guy.
It did not hurt that they wrote letters to Santa at school. And received responses.
So yesterday, December 24th, Jackson announced to Daddy that he was going to wait up all night for Santa. He has talked about this during the year, in his 97% non-believing mode, but it's under the guise of proving, once and for all, that it's all a big hoax. Yesterday, he wanted to stay up to meet Santa to prove that he is real.
So as we were driving home from my parent's house last night, Jackson restated his intention to stay up all night.
I dug deep into my parenting quiver for arrows to try to thwart this plan.
First Arrow: Obvious Consequences
Me: I heard that if kids stay awake, Santa won't come.
Jackson: Well, that is a point.
Daddy: Yeah, you'd hate to miss out on your presents.
Jackson: We'll hide so he won't see us.
Me: Santa still might know.
Jackson: It would be worth it.
Second Arrow: Less Obvious Consequences
Me: But if you stay up all night, I'll have to stay up all night. We all know what happens to Mommy when she doesn't get enough sleep.
Jackson: You got nutso, bananas.
Me: And I get cranky. Who thinks a cranky Mommy is a good idea on Christmas?
Sydney: What can't Daddy stay up with us? He never gets cranky.
Daddy: I'd fall asleep.
Sydney: Why do we need anyone to stay up?
Me: It's illegal to let children stay up by themselves?
Jackson: Really?? There's a law about that?
Me: Well, the government frowns on it.
Jackson: Why? What could happen?
Me: If you electrocuted yourself, I'd be responsible. I need to stay up.
Jackson: How do you electrocute yourself?
Me: Forget I said anything.
By now we are 15 minutes from my parents and I remembered I forgot my purse at my parents (which contained a gift we needed). We turned around.
And I dug deeper into the Quiver.
Third Arrow: Bribery
Me: I'll pay each of you $2 if you can fall asleep by the time we get home [this is made more likely because of the 30 extra minutes added to the trip to return to my parents for my purse]
Jackson: Hmmmm. That's a hard decision.
Sydney [whispering]: Jackson, what are you going to do? Stay up or take the money?
Jackson: I'm staying up. It's only $2.
Me: How about $3??
Jackson: Nope. I'm staying up.
Sydney: I'm staying up too.
Normally, I wouldn't be worried about Sydney as she falls asleep at the drop of a hanky and it's well past 10 at this point. But she fell asleep in the car earlier in the day and that seems to affect her ability to fall asleep. A 20 minute nap in the car translates to a 2 hour later bedtime.
And so I dug deeper.
Fourth Arrow: Guilt
Me: If you guys stay up and see Santa and see your gifts, I won't get to take the movie in the morning and take pictures. It will ruin the surprise. You know how Mommy feels about getting pictures of everything??
Jackson: I just want to see him. I won't look at the presents he leaves.
Sydney: Yeah Mommy, we PROMISE we won't look. We just want to see Santa.
Fifth Arrow: Fines
Me: If I have to stay up with you, you'll both have to pay me $25. That is just the amount of money I'll have to spend on coffee to stay awake tomorrow.
Jackson: That makes it a hard decision.
Sydney[whispering]: Jackson, what are we going to do?
Jackson: I'm still staying awake.
Sydney: Me too.
Fortunately for us, they were all talk and no action. Both were sound asleep by the time we drove into our yard.