Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Wonderland!

Last weekend we had a big family fun day.  After the church program, the great brunch, and then naps, we headed downtown to the Macy's 8th Floor Auditorium.  This is something that I went to every year as a child (and adult).  Then Rob and I went every year before we had kids.  It was always fun when he would come home from working downtown with the scoop on what the 8th Floor theme was going to be that year.  This years' theme was "A Day in the Life of an Elf".  It turned out, it was one of my favorites.  I think this had less to do with the actual display, and more to do with how excited my kids were when we were visiting. 

Well, the display was pretty great too.

Full of colors and imagination...and little girls with their tongues hanging out.

I'm sure part of their excitement had to do with what was waiting at the end of the display....Santa.  After years of going to the free Santa at Nordstroms, where you can take your own picture, we opted to just pay for a visit with Macy's Santa.  It was nice, you get escorted into your own private room with Santa, there was no rush, the kids just sat with Santa and discussed how great they'd been that year, what they were hoping for, and what the reindeer eat.  My only complaint being that this Santa didn't talk above a whisper so I have no idea what he said, and in return Austin talked really quietly.  I don't think Ellie could hear him at all because she just looked at him blankly.  She wasn't scared, and given the chance, I'm sure she would have talked his ear off, but she just couldn't hear him.  Riley did great.  She sat in his lap, kept an eye on us to make sure we weren 't making a run for it, and looked at the camera for the picture.

The picture.  We had four to choose from.  Austin just got cheesier and cheesier.  At one point he looked like a 90 year old lady with his legs crossed at the knee, his hands folded "just so" around his knee, his head cocked to one side, and the goofiest grin you've ever seen.  Unfortunately, in that photo Riley was looking at Santa, Santa was trying to pull Riley's finger out of her mouth, and Ellie was trying to get off his lap to sit on the "drum" seat like Austin.  So, we went with the picture where they are all looking at the camera, though Ellie is still trying to escape to the drum seat.

After the whole ordeal, and right before dinner, we all sat down to eat $10 Santa cookies and Rice Krispie bars.  We didn't really think that one through.

We had great intentions of completing the trip with the Holidazzle parade.  We had all the kids' winter gear ready to bundle them up, and the kids were being great, but Rob and I were done.  We were tired and the idea of freezing our butt off to watch a parade, that our children didn't know about and wouldn't miss, was not a good one. 

And, now in an effort to make this the longest blog post in the history, I am going to share with you a parenting moment of which I'm not proud.

Yesterday, my dear son was not being good.  It started out small, and by evening, I was absolutely done with him.  He was whining, he couldn't answer a question without crying, he freaked out everytime someone touched any of his toys, while running errands he both pinched Ellie and called her a "stupid head", and the list goes on.  I'd had enough.  Ideally, my children would respect me and what I say, and I would not need to go where I went.  But, this was not an ideal day.  So, I brought in the big guns.  Dad?  No.  Santa.

I took out my cell phone (secretly) and dialed our home number.  I let the home phone ring enough times that everyone was aware it was ringing and then I answered the home phone and hung up my cell phone.  The one sided conversation went like this:

Hello?  Yes, this is Austin Runchey's mom.  Mmm-hmmm.  Oh, hi Santa!  Yes. saw that [grimace at Austin].  You saw Austin pinch his sister, and you heard him call her a "stupid head".  Yes....I see.  Well, I'm sure he knows how to be a good boy, he just.....  Oh, okay.  Well, I will let him know.  Thanks for calling Santa and I hope we can get this figured out before Christmas. Say "hi" to Mrs. Claus and Rudolph. Okay...bye!

And then I hung up and looked sadly at Austin.  I told him that was Santa and that he has seen everything he did today.  Having gotten no reaction from Austin so far, I took it a step further and said "He has put you on the naughty list.".


At that instant I realized that all the waterworks we get from Austin in a given week, no matter how real they seem, were fake.  Because at that instant, he cried.  He cried for real.  And hard!  I had to go sit with him to remind him to breath.  I held him and explained that Santa said he is going to watch him more than ever and that if he sees Austin being a much better boy, including listening to his mom and dad, being nice to his sisters, and sharing his toys, that he will place Austin back on the nice list.  This glimmer of hope calmed him down just enough to begin using oxygen again.  We talked about all the ways he could be a better boy and came up with a game plan.

The moral of the story is that I am not proud of making my son cry, but it has been the most effective attitude adjustment I have ever seen.  When I see him slipping back into "Whiny Austin" all I need to do is ask him who called the other day.  Problem solved.


Sheri,er, I mean anonymous said...

It looks like you had a lovely day, and don't feel too bad about the "Santa" call. We've all gone to extremes in trying to raise respectful children, and if people say they haven't, they're lying!! I will confess that at one time when Nick would not be quiet in the car, I pulled over on 494 and told him to get out. I never would have actually made him get out of the car, but lets just say that from that point on, car rides were much more tolerable. ;)

stl82 said...

It is amazing how well pure evil and pure genius go together. I'm putting that trick in my back pocket.