Ho-ho-ho and a lump of coal. This year Sweet M. has gotten the idea that if she isn't good that Santa will bring her a stocking full of coal.
Although we are not proponents of the coal myth, we have encouraged the belief in Santa, patriarchal though it is . . . [patriarchal because all of Mom's hidden elfish work is attributed to a jolly old white guy from the North Pole.] We're assuming that she got the coal section of the story from a cartoon, because it's not a part of the story we emphasize.
Anyway, the coal story has proven to be a remarkable behavior modifier. As soon as she got the idea into her head, she was going out of her way to be helpful and sweet. One night she even brought me a plate of cookies and milk and said, "Here, I've gotta be good so that Santa will come."
But the Santa-coal story is cutting both ways this year. The year is an unusually tight one for us. [More on that in a future post on the hidden costs of having an autie child.] In the midst of my financial tightrope walk, I held-off on ordering from Amazon and eToys until there was cash in the account to cover them. Although we made the cut-off date for standard shipping, the gifts still aren't here and I'm waiting anxiously. Because this year, if her list to Santa doesn't make it, it will mean something: she'll think she was bad.
And that's the problem with this myth, of course. It's a myth that says if you don't get what you wished for that you're bad. It's a myth that says if you're not well paid and always gainfully employed, you're bad. It's a myth that has me wondering, when I look at my bank balance, are we bad?