Tuesday, December 1, 2009

He’s Watching You, Man!

So we’re trying to convince the boy to behave this holiday season. I mean, grand scheme of things, he’s a pretty good kid. He gets moved to ‘yellow’ at school once or twice a week and probably every other week or so we get notice of getting moved to ‘red,’ so I guess we could have it much worse. We’ve exhausted our brains trying to come up with ways to make him behave, from writing sentences to removing privileges to outright spanking for major infractions.

Tonight, though, I think (hope, hope, hope!) that we might have stumbled on something that will work, at least in the short run.

His favorite topic of conversation these days, much like every other little kid I know, is Santa Claus. What’s he eat? Where’s he live? Can we call him? Will he call us? Can I go for a ride in space with him? (For this last one, I had to tell him that space is NASA’s jurisdiction and that Santa’s not really allowed to travel so far up.)

“When I see Santa, I’m going to tell him that I’ve been sweet.” This, tonight after he had been moved to ‘yellow’ for line misconduct at school.

“But what about getting in trouble at school today?”

“I just want to tell him that I have been sweet.”

“Well, son, you realize that that’s lying to Santa, don’t you? You can tell him you’ve been trying to be sweet, but to outright say that you have been sweet all the time is a lie.”

He didn’t quite know what to say to this.

“You know, son, that Santa will be calling us to find out how you’ve been behaving and we have to tell him the truth. And if there are too many ‘yellow’ days or, God forbid, any ‘red’ days, I just don’t see any way that Santa is going to be able to bring you that Batcave you’ve been wanting.”

[ed.The kid wrote his letter to Santa more than a month ago. A month. He started by circling all the things he wanted in the toy catalogue and then, when I told him that Santa only brought a few toys to boys and girls, he edited through all the choices to come up with the one thing he wanted more than anything else. Then he sat down and painstakingly wrote out a letter, asserting his attempts to be good, asking the health of Mrs. Claus and then telling what he wants. He wants covets will go insane if he doesn’t get a Fisher Price Batcave toy this year.


Robert pipes up. “You know that Mrs. Davis [his kindergarten teacher] talks to Santa, too, don’t you? She keeps lists of who is on yellow and who is on red and she sends those lists to Santa. When she tells us about you getting in trouble at school, she also tells Santa that you’ve gotten in trouble.”

Throughout all this, Harrison’s eyes are getting bigger. He’s getting quieter and paler and about the time Robert mentions the Santa-Mrs. Davis connection he just about stops breathing. A single sigh escapes his lips, with which he utters a low, desperate, “Whoa.”

The crazy thing is, in a sense, everything Robert said is true. Mrs. Davis is telling Santa about Harrison’s behavior when she tells us what he’s been doing. She does keep lists of kids who get moved to ‘yellow’ or ‘red,’ at least in a way. (She sends calendars home with this information.}

I’m curious to see how this is going to affect the boy. I know this is probably the last good year of Santa we have with him. I guess next year we’re going to have to do some real parenting and learn to really discipline.


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