I keep forgetting to pull the Christmas CDs off the shelves at home and put them in the car, so ever since the calendar turned to December a few days ago I’ve been singing off-key a cappella Christmas carols to the boys on our drive to preschool. Will and I sing Jingle Bells together, but I have to go mostly solo for Up on the Housetop, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, The Twelve Days of Christmas and Frosty the Snowman (whose lyrics I generally bungle by the end). This is an all-request show, so I wind up doing the livelier tunes – Away in A Manger and Silent Night just aren’t quite rockin’ enough for Will and Owen’s tastes.
Today, when I was intending to break into Up on the Housetop, I instead found myself singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – as in: “you better watch out, you better not cry….”
I swear I wasn’t trying to pull Santa threats on my kids, unless it was subconsciously?
Because it’s true that Owen has chosen this week to try out crying fits in hopes of getting his way. I’ve been gently escorting him to his room and encouraging him to come out just as soon as feels like being happy with the rest of the family. This has been working fairly well; he lies on the floor in tears for a couple minutes and eventually comes out teary-eyed, sucking air in loudly, but not quite crying and fairly ready to discover a little calm within. We’ve had to do it a few times though, and I think Owen’s aware he’s been crying more than usual.
Tonight as I was putting on his pajamas he asked me to sing “Better Watch Out” two times in a row. He seemed to be contemplating the lyrics, and he asked me, “Who better not cry?”
“It’s just a song,” I said, detecting some concern in his voice. “I guess it’s saying Santa likes to see kids use their words instead of just crying when their mad. Do you think it’s saying you better not cry?”
“No,” said Owen decidedly. “Babies better not cry.” He even named a baby we know, as if to insure that he wasn’t including his big boy self in the “you better not cry” group.
We’ll see if that means he’s resolving to reform or if it means he's not going to "not cry" and is already envisioning another crying fit on the menu tomorrow.
In the meantime, I'm only singing that song if it's requested. I don't think I want to turn Santa into a coal-delivering Big Brother in our house. I'd rather just encourage my kids to be good for goodness' sake. It feels more honest.