DW was in the middle of a meltdown. He was cranky and sleepy and he didn’t want to ride his stroller because he wanted to walk. He wanted us to follow him wherever he was going and if we refused he would bawl his eyes out and scream ” COME ON MAMA! COME ON!!!” Sure it was adorable, he wanted to roam around the store with us but it was frustrating and tiring. Plus he was always headed to a section of the store where he can do the most damage. The glassware and cookware sections specifically and when I told him he can’t go there, he would shout “Luto Ako!!!”. Super cute yes. Frustrating, hell yes.
We got the “looks ” from other shoppers but BDW and I couldn’t care less and we kept on talking to and reasoning with DW to no avail. So we told him, “remember Santa Claus? He gives gifts to good kids during Christmas so if you behave and be a good little boy, he’ll come and visit.” So there, I did something I thought we would never do. We told DW that if he behaves, Santa would give him a gift this Christmas. It was a moment of weakness brought about by the lack of sleep and compounded by the absence of caffeine during breakfast.
But it worked. DW stopped bawling and told us “Good boy ako”. Hala ka (Hala kami!), the Santa Claus excuse worked.
I was dumbfounded. So will this little boy actually expect gifts now for good behavior? Have we made material rewards important now?! I wanted to blame the blatant consumerism for this holiday but we are in the middle of buying gifts when this happened. It’s a vicious cycle no?!
I’m trying to figure out what my next step is. Santa Claus, I thought is a symbol of sharing and giving and all he asks is for kids to be nice. This should be a teaching moment, a way for me to let DW know that we act in accordance with how we want to be treated and that at certain moments we need to make the right choices. It was a chance for me to tell him that giving and receiving are very special things and that most of the time giving is already its own reward.
But then again, we have a three year old. Meltdowns and tantrums are THE RIGHT THINGS for him at the moment. His “acting accordingly” is bawling when he doesn’t get what he want. So for now, when DW has a meltdown, we look at him straight in the eyes and tell him that he can’t do what he wants all the time because there are things that should be done first and that waiting is actually a good thing. That works too although the effort required is much greater than just pulling out the Santa card.
So, uhm, Santa, I think BDW and I have been well-behaved parents this year, do we get gifts on Dec. 25?! Thanks for the help with our little boy though ho-ho-ho!
Pic of Santa is from here