I did a terrible thing yesterday.
It started off like any great idea. I set the stage and watched it played out. And saw it backfiring spectacularly.
Yesterday, I went from Super Mom to Dream Crusher. Deluxe.
I firmly believe that raising children is one part nature, two parts nurture and one part science experiment. On most days you try to just do what’s right. But every now and then I like to try something different to see what the outcome will be. I guess that’s why my kids are a little free-range and will spend tons of cash on psychotherapy one day.
Anyway, there is this awesome site called Portable North Pole, that you can use to send personalised messages from Santa to your kids. Seriously, try it out.
I decided to set up messages for Da Kids, to kinda give them a little nudge towards more, er, appropriate behaviour. And to keep things realistic I set their behaviour to nice/naughty. I mean, which kid is 100% nice? (OK fine… yes… I know there are freaks like that out there but my kids have big personalities.)
So last night, while they were watching a movie, I suddenly looked up from my laptop where I was squeezing in a few bits of work and shouted all surprised-like, “guys, you won’t BELIEVE what has just landed in my inbox!!! Emails from Father Christmas!!!!!!”
As fast as lightning, the movie was paused and they immediately had a fight over whose message would be watched first. So there he sat, Da Son, staring at my laptop screen while listening to Santa speak. Yes, he has grown a lot. Yes, he was in Grade 2. Yes, he worked very hard to control his temper. <He nodded all the way through.> But did he make the nice list?
** at which point I thought: Oh crap, I don’t think I thought this through properly. What happens to kids on the nice/naughty list?**
Back to the laptop screen where the Elves grabbed their popcorn, the naughty-nice-o-meter worked overtime to calculate the final result. The needle hovered over nice… it hovered over naughty… and then it settled slap-bang in the middle, to gasps from the Elves, Santa shaking his head and Da Son’s face frozen in utter shock.
He quietly got up and had his supper, with tears threatening to break out of those big chocolate brown eyes. Halfway through supper those tears rolled down his cheeks.
“I’m just so confused. I thought Santa didn’t exist. Now I don’t know what to do.”
Da Chick had her turn after supper, fully expecting to be on the nice list. Except that she got the same result.
Woah – I didn’t expect things to go downhill like that. And now the kids are in a huge panic because they may not have enough time to make it to the nice list, which means that they may miss out on their Santa gifts (in our house you get gifts from friends and family, while Santa may make one of your wishes come true – IF you were good, did you chores, worked hard in school and tried your best generally).
I may have taken the whole “motivating for good behaviour” thing just a little too far this time…