Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Only December 1st, and already trauma over Santa

The last few days have been rocky. All the kids have been a touch on the crabby side, and Danny especially has been emotional. Yesterday afternoon, he cried no less than 5 times over really strange things like the fact that he didn't get to go grocery shopping with me today.

I have decided that this can all be chalked up to Thanksgiving aftershock. The kids are tired from being out of their routine for a long weekend of traveling and family parties, and they need to get back to normal.

I think because Danny is doing so well lately, I forget that he still needs his routines and some down time. Actually, all of us do, but I still seem to have difficulty remembering this.

Anyway, so the point of all that was to illustrate that Danny's been a bit out of sorts this week. Today was no exception. I was on the phone briefly when Charlotte came running into the room screaming. Not an event that is all that unusual around here, as Charlotte has a tendency to be a tad melodramatic at times, so I wasn't too concerned.

Until she showed me a blue bruise where Danny had bitten her.

Yes, he bit her!

I was shocked, appalled and not a little annoyed. What the heck is going on with these kids, anyway?

Danny was punished and we had a little talk about appropriate ways to express anger and frustration--a talk I should probably have given more heed to myself. We set about doing homework, eating dinner, and doing listening therapy.

Then I did something very unwise and cruel. I honestly do not know what possessed me. Can I somehow blame the penicillin shot the doctor gave me for strep this week?

[First, let me just say that I try to avoid holding Santa over the kids' heads in order to get them to behave. I have nothing against Santa. In fact, I have really great memories of him bringing me the Gymnastics Barbie set I wanted one year. What I don't feel comfortable with is using him to bribe motivate the kids to behave like civilized humans. I'd rather my kids develop a desire to behave well because it's the nice thing to do, not just out of fear of being denied Christmas gifts. Plus, let's face it, no matter how bad the kid is, does any parent ever really give coal?]

OK, so here's what happened. I was talking with Danny in the kitchen when he mentioned Santa. Which is when an evil spirit took possession of my tongue and I heard myself say the following: "Danny, how do you think Santa feels about you biting your sister?"

And you know what Danny did?

He cried. A full-on, brokenhearted cry. One that would make my mother cringe, as she has no tolerance for hearing one of her grandchildren cry. Or whimper. Or even sigh sadly.

Which is when I had to backpedal and tell him that Santa understands we make mistakes and that as long as Danny is sorry and tries to be better, it will be OK. I almost panicked and promised Danny the $100 Space Police Lego set he's been coveting just to silence the sobs wracking his body.

I felt like the worst mother on the planet.

So, why is it that my mother could give a mean guilt trip in her sleep, she was that good, but when I try, I end up feeling guiltier than my kid does?

On a side note, Danny did behave beautifully the rest of the night......


beckmarsh said...

oh, Patty, we were living the same nightmare last night. I didn't even think about a Santa threat (I think the 11 year old knows the truth about that whole thing) but I have done that in the past. We have even "called" Santa. I know it's so ridiculous but there are times when the kids and I just join hands and ride the irrational wave together. Hoping tonight goes much better.

@jencull (jen) said...

Sounds like he got a big shock, but I doubt it will do him any harm and might make him stop before he bites again. We don't have bottomless pits of patience and I don't think you were evil, not one bit. Jen

Alysia - Try Defying Gravity said...

My friend did the same thing last week - she said for the first time in her life she threatened calling Santa and telling him not to come. She felt awful, but her kids took notice immediately and changed their behavior.

You are not the worst mother on the planet - you're an amazing mom and we all say things we think we shouldn't have said. Heck, I've even gone as far as promising that Lego set (except in our house it's Lego Star Wars).

And I would guess that your mother felt guilty too about her guilt trips. It's part of being a mom :)

Jenni said...

Patty I did the same exact thing this week! With similar results. But I was much meaner.

Denise said...


For some odd reason I have gotten behind on reading your blog. OH how I miss you...miss your words...your blog. I mostly miss YOU.

I like the personal touch! I like YOU.

Hope all is well.

Love you to through cyber space (it seems to be the only time I get to communicate with you anymore....sorry, my fault, I am sure). But school is out in a couple weeks and ... break time will be some Patty time hopefully.

Caitlin Wray said...

Oh Patty, I have so been there. I know that cry, I know that feeling in your heart when you realize you've gone too far.

Only good mom's feel that feeling by the way. The bad ones revel in seeing their child broken. So know that your regret is a sign of your devotion and love for your kids :)

In a moment of desperation when Simon was little, I told him the motion sensors in the ceiling corners of our rooms (from our security system) were "Santa Cams".

It's a long story, it doesn't end well. I'll have to blog about it ;)