This is the first year that Brogan really gets the concept of Santa. He knows that Santa brings presents to good boys and girls and being the self-aware toddler that he is, knows that where he lies on that “naughty and nice” spectrum is a little questionable. If you’ve read any of my kid-related posts, you know that it’s been a struggle to find this child’s currency. And while I’m happy to report that our recent shift in focus on the positive and rewards versus punishment has shown us some improvement, there is nothing, I repeat, nothing that gets my little misbehaver to mind like the mention of Santa.
Now I know some will say that we’re bribing our child with the promise of gifts come Christmas morning. Well, we are. But we’re okay with it. We own it. To be honest, finding something that speaks to him, makes him think about what he’s doing, weigh the consequences and make the right decision is refreshing (and by refreshing, perhaps I mean relaxing, since it drops what would have been a 20 minute pre-Santa meltdown to 5 minutes, tops). Now I don’t want to sugarcoat this, his tendency is still to push the envelope, talk back, not clean up his toys and not share. But, when we tell him that either Max (our Elf on the Shelf) sees what he’s doing (and will tell Santa), or (and even more effective) that we’re going to call Santa himself, that kid will shape up. And these are not entirely empty threats. You see, my brilliant husband found a phone number online that you can call and get a recorded version of Santa reminding kids to be good. For anyone interested, the number is 951-262-3062. Works like I charm. When we actually have to call, all it takes is Brogan hearing the first couple of “Ho, ho, hos” and he’s yelling, “Nooo!!!” And then he’s like putty in our hands.
And for those of you out there who do not need to use the Santa-threat 42 times each night, you obviously have a child who listens better than mine. And for those of you who have kids who share in Brogan’s “spirited nature,” don’t you wish we could use Santa all year round??