Traumatizing Our Child with Santa

Now that the craziness of Christmas is over, I have time to share our Santa experiences. The boys had many this season. Thankfully, we worked on our wish list early. Maximus and I took it very seriously, he told me what to write down and we put it up on the fridge. The awesome thing about four? His list didn’t change! And he always remembered what it was when people asked him. 🙂 {Plus, it was a reasonable list!}

We went to breakfast with Santa at our church {also Maximus’ preschool}. We walked right in and got our pictures taken with Saint Nicholas. One of Maximus’ teacher was helping and as soon as she saw Quinten, she suggested we do a family picture.

Good call, Miss D. Good call.

Good call, Miss D. Good call.

It turns out that a family picture was a very good idea. He wasn’t happy about it, but a grumpy kid is better than the alternative. Maximus didn’t get to talk to this Santa, but he was happy to get a picture taken.

Next up was the daycare Christmas party. Each kid buys for another kid and she gives them each a gift also. {We obviously give her gifts also. I mean, she’s dealing with The Naughty One. Ahem.} We talked about the Christmas party and Maximus told us what to buy for one of his friends. That’s also the cool thing about four! He told us what the kid said he wanted. 🙂 I didn’t mention that Santa would be there, even though I knew he would. The pictures we got were exactly what I expected. Maximus told Santa he wanted a combine. And, well, Quinten probably just told Santa NOOOO!

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Maximus (4 1/2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quinten (2), Maximus (4 1/2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinten wasn’t traumatized enough to talk about it when he got home, so I guess it was just an unhappy moment. Heh. That poor man who was trying to hold on to that wiggling child. I have a hard time holding on to him when he’s throwing a fit.

Our next experience was full on planned out. We wanted to have a family Santa experience. Maximus got a little confused about what to tell Santa because he’d already asked for a combine, but he decided he’d ask this Santa for a tractor. We struggled a little deciding where we were going to go so we had to explain why some Santa’s were busy and why there were other Santa’s we could go find. He decided that there were many Santa’s helping because there were lots of places they could live. {I love four-year-old logic about homes. Our pediatrician also “lives” at his work.} We eventually made our way to Ames, a Santa that Maximus had seen before. We pulled up right as Santa was walking into Jimmy John’s to grab a drink. I held Maximus as his mouth dropped open and he just stared. He whispered, “Santa’s in Jimmy Johns. Why?” Well, we soon found out that he was going to feed the reindeer and would be back in an hour. AN HOUR! What the heck do you do with two children in a mall for an hour?! We had one final gift to get and made a cookie stop. What better thing to do during nap time?

Cookie monster

A happy cookie monster. No sharing for us.

When Santa came back, we got in line with the rest of the families. Bryan tried to talk Quinten up and they looked at Santa. I heard Quinten say, “No lap.” Heh. Guess he didn’t want to talk to Santa. I asked Quinten what he wanted from Santa, “Truck. Car. Tractor.” Spoiler alert: he asked for none of those things.

As the two-year-old handbook says, “Thou shall not make nice with the scary Santa man.”

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Maximus hopped up on his lap before I could even stow the stroller. He was talking away when I came in close. He asked for a tractor. “What kind of tractor?” “A green one. A John Deere one.” {Because the 8 that we already have aren’t enough.} Then, Bryan put Quinten on his lap and the above happened immediately. I told the girl not to worry about getting a smile. And we picked the best cry face picture! 😉 While Maximus smiled away and didn’t pay any attention to his brother.

Also in the handbook, “Thou shall always say thank you when Santa hands you a coloring book.” Yep. He screamed at the jolly man and did the slow sob when Bryan picked him up. {You know, the deep breath, skip a breath, and hiccup thing.} Santa handed each boy a coloring book and Quinten quietly said, “Thank you” between sobs. Manners unlocked.

Quinten fell asleep within five minutes in the car, but it was 3:30 so he was a little tired. We drove the slow way home and enjoyed driving through our college town and seeing what had changed. Maximus eventually crashed also and we headed home. Santa visits completed with a picture that is a pretty accurate depiction of our life right now. Maximus trying to look like the “good one” while his brother wails next to him. Ah, four and two may be the most challenging combination we’ve experienced.

My face. Bryan's thumb. Sleeping boys!

My face. Bryan’s thumb. Sleeping boys!

 

 

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The gift of children

It’s quiet on Leger Lane. Only adult things are filling up the space. Parenthood marathon on the tv and laundry in the washing machine. The lights are turned down and the Christmas tree is letting off a colorful array of twinkling. I spent almost two hours picking up, switching out decorations, and putting lights on the tree tonight. {Biggest mom accomplishment this week: waiting until the boys were asleep to tackle the Christmas light situation.} The house feels put together. It makes me feel content. It gives my mind time to recharge. Gear up for another day. The days don’t always go as anyone would like. Maximus spends 10% of each day whining that we didn’t do anything fun. Even right after we do something really fun. Quinten doesn’t always get along with anyone. And sometimes I raise my voice too much in an attempt to get someone to listen or everyone to stop fighting. Days can be hard and nights can be worse. The witching hour. A clean house and clear mind can erase the worst days. Tomorrow is another day and another set of challenges. It’s also another day of happy moments. There are always lots of those. Snuggles, kisses, hugs, kind words, funny toddler talk, and mind-blowing preschooler learning.

Quinten talks non-stop now. It started about two weeks ago and only stops when he’s sleeping. He’s a little parrot, know-it-all, and play-by-play commentator. He is definitely a toddler now with only a week-and-a-half to go before his 2nd birthday. It’s funny to see what he likes and doesn’t like. He wants to talk through every step involved in going to the bathroom but refuses to try it himself. He doesn’t like confined spaces, but hides in the pantry and yells, “Daddy! I hiding!” When I tell him a snack is all gone {because he doesn’t know how to say no to food}, he’ll tell Maximus 10 minutes later. Even when Maximus wasn’t talking about a snack or food. It’s a challenge to convince him that I can change his diaper and then an even bigger deal to get him to hold still while I do it. He loves to say, “No, mommy!” and run away when he doesn’t want to do something. When he doesn’t like what we tell him, he takes his frustration out on anything close – toys, people, dogs, water bottles. Quinten loves to dance, sing, and play music.

Maximus also talks non-stop. He is a little sponge. Constantly bringing things up that he learns in preschool. When we pick him up he can’t remember what he did in school. He mostly remembers gym time and story time. Yet, he says things to me like, “Mommy! I see the moon. The newest moon that our favorite man made. Do you know who that man is? You do mommy! It’s our favorite man way up high in heaven! It’s God!!” The other day he recognized a remix of a song before I did. Bryan plays it a lot and Maximus sings along. He walks around the house making up songs and singing really high. It’s hilarious! If he wants, he can be super sweet and helpful with Quinten. He loves drawing and coloring and talking about what sounds a letter makes. He likes to know what our plans are. He does better with life when he knows what to expect. His current obsession is watching toy reviews on YouTube. Seriously?! He loves playing music with Bryan but has strict rules on when Bryan can sign. Mostly it’s just “music bands and not singing bands.”

Tomorrow is another day. A big day. Thanksgiving is full of food, family, and a screwed up routine. I’m hopeful for well-behaved children! And an easy bedtime after the chaos of the day. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!