Am I a bad parent for threatening to call Santa on my cell phone when 3-year-old C. refuses to clean up her room, put on her shoes or pick up toys she scatters around the house?
Maybe, but I’m not the only one.
A co-worker who has kids said she had a picture of Santa on her cell phone, representing a sort of North Pole hotline. In the past, she even had relative she could dial who would play the role on the other end of the line when things got dire.
C. is at this golden stage where she understands who Santa is, and she believes me when I say I have Mr. Kringle on my speed dial.
Up through November, all I had to do was promise to call grandma if C. was misbehaving. This was especially effective, but at the same time strange, mainly because the grandma I was talking about is one of the nicest and most generous people in her life.
But this Christmas season, playing the Santa card has worked well.
When C. won’t eat her dinner, or stands up in her chair or does something else to make dinnertime a circus, all I have to do is reach for the phone and she snaps to attention.
Toward the end of the month, she has started to get a little wise to the ruse. Today I said was I going to call The Jolly One when she refused to get up off the floor and get her shoes on.
She looked at me and said “nooooooo” with a tone of playful challenge.
Only when I whipped out my phone did she finally get moving.
Unfortunately, this scheme does not work on A., who at 8 years old said he no longer believes in Santa.
I think that will change for him tomorrow. On Christmas morning, everyone becomes a believer.
As for now, I’m glad to have Santa on my side. He may never know how much of a help he really is.