Just Over Here, Scarring My Kids with Santa

612576_007I’ve been seeing all your super cute posts out there, Moms of the Internet, of your kids with well-styled and beautiful shot Santas. And I’m jealous. Kinda.

I mean, I wish we had fab photos of the girls with the big man in red, but I also have looked into some of those photo shoots’ pricing, and wholly guacamole! Considering that I’m never sure how my girls will react when put in awkward situations (like, “Hey little girl! I’m going to be spying on you, trying to find your flaws, and possibly be making all of your toy dreams come true, so come sit in my lap and let’s talk casually”), I’m not ready to invest quite yet. So I’ll just stew here in my jealousy and recount my major #momfail with our generic Santa this year.

For the past few seasons, we’ve gone to see our local Santa (at Avalon, for you Atlantans). It’s been a great tradition: We walk up, get a buzzer for our time slot, jaunt around the block for a bit people-watching, see Santa, and then end with cake at Cafe Intermezzo. This year wasn’t much different. (Well, except for Santa’s technology upgrade.)

This year we were given a tablet with some questions to let Santa in on the girls’ info. I *think* they’ve done something like this in the past, but this year the final question was, “What is one thing your child needs to improve?” In a rash moment of non-thinking, I was honest. I wrote “whining” for Cricket. (She didn’t really care that Santa chastised her for it, though, so no harm done.) For E.V. I wrote “not tying up kids on the playground.” Whoops.

You see, a couple weeks ago E.V. got in my car after school and told me that for the first time this year she had her clip moved to RED. (In elementary school world, this is basically like declaring you’re a delinquent with no hope of a future so you might as well drop out and start hitch-hiking to juvy now.) She admitted that she and a couple other girls had played a prank on one of their friends by tying a jump rope around her ankles while she was sitting. The little girl got up, tripped and skinned her knee. The teacher’s note recounted simply: Tied up classmate with a jump rope. Warning this time, write-up next time. Eek! We talked about it (she knew that the prank didn’t go well), and she wrote the girl an apology note. Case closed. She was too nervous to tell Ryan about getting in trouble, so I resolved to let it go. (And, honestly, she wasn’t trying to be mean. She has just watched to many cartoons in life to realize that it was a bad idea.) Until Santa asked and I blabbed.

Both girls were excited and upbeat in talking to Santa. No shyness this year! Everything was going fine. I was snapping away while he was chatting away. And then he turned to E.V. and with a stern look said, “My elf told me that you tied a girl up on the playground. Why did you do that?” Emma Vance’s face dropped immediately and she fell silent. And Santa kept at it! Ugh. He kept probing her, even when I tried to lighten the mood and interject with how it was a mistake and how she had apologized. Geez, dude. Read a room, will ya? It was painful. Awful, really. I wanted to die. And punch the guy. And punch myself.

That night we had to have a long talk about how Santa isn’t like God, that God accepts our apologies and moves on, that God knows our heart and isn’t just waiting for some bad behavior report from an elf. It was a good talk, but gosh I wish I had just used my brain! I’ll chalk this one up to a major #momfail and just bide my time until I can tell E.V. that Santa isn’t real and that I am so so so so sorry. And that I’ll pay for her future psych visits because on this particular occasion, yes, yes it was my fault. ;)

So while all of you awesome moms are oohing and ahhing over your fab photos with Kris Kringle, I’ll just be over here, scarring my kids with Santa for the heck of it. Merry Christmas! :)
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