I was sick of listening to them bicker. Lucy. Max. Both of them going at it like a couple of chickens in a coop. “She’s bossing me!” “He’s pulling my hair!” I was about to pull my own hair if they didn’t stop. I yelled across the kitchen, “I’m DONE! MAX, GO SIT ON THE STAIRS! LUCY, GO SIT IN MY ROOM! I WANT YOU TWO SEPARATED AND QUIET!”
What I did next can only be put in the category of dangerous thoughtlessness. I was rash. I didn’t think. I shouldn’t have gone there.
I picked up my phone and called Santa Claus (aka; my sister Stacy). “Santa? Yes, I’m calling to let you know that Lucy and Max have been fighting an awful lot and I’m not sure they should receive presents this year. Uh-huh. Okay, I will call back if their behavior improves”. I hung up.
I could already hear Max sobbing on the stairs and muffled between tears he said, “but I want presents for Christmas!” Lucy bolted out of the bedroom her breathing quick and shallow, tears pouring down, her face pale and the words flying out of her mouth as fast as she could spew them; “WHY DID YOU CALL SANTA? I’M SOOOOOO EMBARRASSED!! HE’S ALWAYS BEEN SOOOOO NICE TO ME. EVERY YEAR OF MY LIFE HE’S BEEN NICE TO ME AND NOW HE’S ANGRY AT ME CUZ I’VE BEEN BAD!! I DON’T EVEN WANT TO GO VISIT HIM NOW BECAUSE I’M TOO EMBARRASSED TO SEE HIM BECAUSE HE IS GOING TO BE SOOOO ANGRY AT ME.” The sobs coming fast, her breathing becoming more shallow, panic flooding her eyes – I started to worry she would pass out.
“Lucy, come here and sit down. Max, you too. Now listen, Max, you can’t go around pulling your sisters hair and being mean. Lucy, you can’t say things to Max that you know are going to make him angry. If you two start behaving like you are supposed to I will call Santa back.”
Max’s tears instantly stopped. He wiped his face, took a deep breath and declared; “Mama, I’m going to start being good RIGHT NOW!”
Lucy launched into more panicked filled sobs: “IT DOESN’T MATTER. HE IS ALREADY MAD AT ME AND I’M SO EMBARRASSED AND I BET I’M THE ONLY KID IN SCHOOL WHOSE HAD TO HAVE A CALL MADE TO SANTA AND NOW HE WON’T BRING US PRESENTS!!” At this point, the panic, fear and shear anxiety on her face, combined with the shallow breathing was making me very concerned that she was going to pass out. “Lucy, you MUST calm down. Breathe. I’m sure you can improve your behavior and Santa will bring you presents. You’ve always been a good girl. I don’t think you need to worry that much”. I thought I was starting to calm her down when the sobs kicked up again and she wailed; “I BET ALL THE ELVES KNOW AND THERE ARE LIKE THOUSANDS OF THEM! WAAAAAAAAAAA!!!” Out of this chaos of emotion Max quietly asked; “Hey, can we text Santa?” and without hesitating I said “sure!”
Me: “Lucy is VERY upset and embarrassed”
Santa/Stacy: “The elves think she deserves a second chance”
Me: “Max wants to know if he gets one too”
Santa/Stacy: “Max needs to not fight with Lucy but he gets a second chance if he promises to be good”
Me: “Max wants to know how big are the elves and Lucy says she is too embarrassed to see you because she thinks you will be mad”
Santa/Stacy: “Eleves are 3ft 4 inches”
Santa/Stacy: “Lucy shouldn’t be afraid to see me. I’ve seen her every year since she was little and I would miss her. Ho ho ho.”
Me: “Max and Lucy say they love you”
Santa/Stacy: “I love them too. I have to go feed the reindeer now. Good night.
Calm returned to the house after that, but it was an unsettled awkward calm. Lucy was not fully convinced that she would be returned to the “good” list and I was left feeling guilty and emotionally drained. I’m sure we will need to make another follow-up call to insure both children have made it on the “good” list since I can tell Lucy is still worried.
And that is how I managed to scar my child for life.