This Christmas season has proven itself to already be very different from Christmases of yore. I feel quite ill-prepared to explain to an overly-inquisitive little boy the inconsistencies of Santa Claus.
To be honest, I'd almost completely forgotten about the magical effects of having your children believe that an obese man with a 41-inch waist and a giant sack of toys can enter your house through a 12" by 18" opening in your roof. And can be at the mall, the grocery store, the town center and your local Target all at the same time, sometimes with food in his beard, sometimes with glasses, sometimes with an entourage of groomers, photographers, and college students dressed as elves. There is nothing more magical than a 19-year-old co-ed dressed in candy-cane leggings begging scores of weeping children to smile, for the love of God, please SMILE.
In an attempt to explain this magic in simple terms, I sang Rollie Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Which is apparently quite a confusing song to a kid who's just grasping the ridiculous concept of flying reindeer in the first place.
Me: You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry....
Rollie: Why do I have to watch out?
Me: Well, not in a bad way. You just have to make sure you're a good boy.
Rollie: What will happen if I'm not?
Me: Ah-ha...listen....You'd better not pout, I'm telling you why...Santa Claus is--
Rollie: Tell me why, Momma.
Me: I am, just listen....Santa Claus is coming--
Rollie: Why, Momma?
Me: Rollie, lis-ten! Santa Claus is coming...to town.
Me: He's making a list...and checking it twice...
Rollie: Momma, I thought you were gonna tell me why I have to watch out.
Me: ...Rollie, I did. I told you Santa's coming.
Rollie: ....Is he coming to get me?
Me: No, Santa Claus is nice. He's going to bring you toys. I mean, if you're good.
Rollie: ...Am I good?
Me: Sometimes. Usually.
Rollie: ...But why do I have to watch out?
Me: Be-cause...He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness--
Rollie: But I'm bad sometimes.
Me: Well then, I guess you need to work extra hard to be good.
Rollie: But Elsa's naughty sometimes, too. Elsa's more naughty than me.
Which is true--lately Elsa has found herself in Time Out daily, whereas Rollie's have dwindled to once or twice a week. And Elsa's Time Outs are generally because she hits me when she's pissed. Just like her Auntie Carrie used to do, God help us.
Me: You both need to work on being nice.
Rollie: But Elsa does more than me.
Me: ...He sees you when you're sleeping...He knows when you're awake....
Rollie: Will he come to get me when I'm sleeping?
Me: No, Rollie, he's not like the Boogie Man. He's Santa. He's jolly. He brings presents and stuff.
Rollie: Who's the Boogie Man?
Me: ...Let's sing a different song.
This went of for several more minutes, with Rollie's chief concern being that Santa Claus is coming to get him, while he's sleeping no less. Santa sees him at his most vulnerable. If Santa were a 13-year-old girl he would freeze Rollie's bra and draw on his face with eye-liner while he slept.
Which might explain why every time we've encountered a Santa, Rollie has been reticent to sit on his lap. I'm not surprised, given the Boogie-Man-esque image Rollie has of him, coupled with the Jerry Garcia beard, the hearty laugh and the velour jumpsuit...if we didn't know better, Santa would seem like a hysterical crazy person who likes to drape himself in fur and velvet. Kinda like Joe Namath, but without the pantyhose.
The other issue I've run into with Rollie is that I left his presents in the back of our car and before I could transfer them somewhere in the house where Rollie wouldn't find them (which would probably have to be the laundry basket, since Rollie is apparently allergic to putting his dirty clothes where they belong), he saw them.
Rollie: What's that?
Me (Crap): Oh, that's nothing. Just some...stuff.
Rollie: It looks like toys.
Me (realizing the Target bags are spilling their contents--Mr. Potato Head, plastic dinosaurs, roller-skates--onto the floor): Well, they are toys, but they aren't for you.
Rollie: They look like they're for me.
Me: I know they do, but they aren't.
Rollie: Can I play with them?
Me: No, Hon. They're for another family who won't be able to buy presents this year. (Okay, so I know lying about benevolence probably goes against every creed in every religion, but in all fairness to me, we have been buying presents for families in need lately....just not these ones....)
Rollie: ...Won't Santa bring them presents?
Me: Well, yeah...but we are, too.
Me (Sigh. How do I turn this into a life lesson? Or at least get him to shut the hell up?): Wouldn't you be happy if you couldn't have any presents at Christmas and someone bought some for you?
Rollie: But I've been good this year. Santa's going to bring me presents.
Me: You think so, huh? Santa must not read my blog.
Rollie: What's a blog?
Ah yes...I suppose I will save that conversation for another time. Preferably when he's 30.
Seriously though, despite what the contents of this blog might suggest, Rollie really is a good boy. I'd say about 85% of the time (although 50% of that amount is spent in slumber). Which is up from last year by about a billion percent.
Elsa, on the other hand....She needs to pull in some extra credit if she expects to find anything under the tree. Maybe Joe Namath will visit in the dead of night and leave her an autographed football and a well-worn pair of queen-sized Beautymist pantyhose.