Sunday, December 26, 2010

He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake

My children are not known for being great sleepers.  In fact, getting them into bed and asleep can be quite a struggle every night.  And then comes Christmas Eve.
The boys know that Santa can't come unless they are tucked into bed and sound asleep.  And trust me, we use this to our advantage.  Last year as the boys resisted the lure of beds and blankets, we took them to the NORAD Santa tracking site.  As Santa neared Portland, the boys seemed to panic a bit then rushed off to put themselves to bed.  Mr. Dog and I watched in wonder considering how damaging it would be to celebrate Christmas every morning.
This year Big Dog started to claim fatigue at about 6pm.  Amusing coming from the boy who would stay up past 11 pm on a nightly basis if he could.  I assumed he was finally understanding the magic of sleep with its ability to consume hours and bring on Christmas morning.  I also believed he might actually be a bit tired since we'd been up early to catch a flight to Colorado where we are celebrating Christmas day this year.  Either way, we stalled him a bit.  After a bit it became more work to keep him up than to give into his demands, so we changed the boys into pajamas, read them bedtime stories and put them to bed. By 7:45 both of my night owls were in a peaceful slumber and I sincerely believed I was witnessing the first of the Christmas miracles.
Mr. Dog and I wrapped their gifts, put them under the tree and settled in for some grown up conversation with his parents.  As we relaxed in the quiet, I realized that we'd forgotten the cookies and milk for Santa!  Since we will be celebrating "2nd Christmas" when we get back to Portland, I just made a mental note to correct this oversight from tonight's performance in the next run.  After talking for a while, I decided I should make sure I understood the video features on my fancy new camera, so I went into the bedroom to test this out. While I played with my gift from Mr. Dog, I heard a very unwelcome sound.  Little feet padded up to our bedroom and a sleepy-eyed but excited Big Dog appeared at the door.
"Mama, is it very early in the morning?" he asked hopefully.
"No, you've been asleep for about an hour."
"I want to check something," he said and headed for the door to the living room.
"What are you checking?"
"I want to see if Santa has been here."
"No, he hasn't.  And even if he had you'd just see the presents and have to think about them all night before you could open them.  You should go back to sleep."
Mr. Dog came in after a while and we quietly communicated that the Santa presents should be rehidden to avoid discovery.
With no success in the getting him back to bed department, Mr. Dog suggested that he put cookies and milk out for Santa, so off they went.  When they got back, we were joined by another small person wondering if it was morning yet.  Despite our attempt at quiet, Little Dog was now up and about.  Mr. Dog asked if he'd like to put a cookie out for Santa, and our own little cookie monster agreed.
As he went to put it on the plate, he told Mr. Dog in an authoritative tone, "The more cookies you give him, the more presents you get!"
After a couple more false starts getting the kids into their beds, tucked in and on their way to dreamland, Mr. Dog finally got Little Dog back to sleep.  I waited in the living room for what felt like an eternity before going to check on his progress only to find that Big Dog was still awake.  He demanded a snuggle so I climbed into his bed to help fall asleep.  Unfortunately it wasn't that easy.  Anxiety had set in.  He was now so worried that he wouldn't be able to fall asleep and that would prevent Santa from visiting, he was unable to calm himself enough to fall asleep.  The vicious cycle of excitement, stress and fear had set in.
I tried to calm him. 
"Santa will come even if you don't fall asleep.  I promise."
"But he can't come, we'll see his sleigh!" he insisted.
"No, we'll stay in the bedroom and he'll park where we can't see him." I assured him.
"How will he hide from us?  And what if we do see him?"
"We won't.  Santa is good at hiding.  And he's magical.  He will still come even if you're awake, just try to go to sleep."
"How do you know?" he asked suspiciously.
"I just do.  I'm a mama, I know everything."
"But what if you're wrong?"
"I'm a mama.  I'm never wrong."
He thought this over a bit.
"Remember when you told me that bees were everywhere?" he asked.
I didn't remember this.  I'm not honestly sure I ever did say this, but I'm not going to quibble at 12:30 am with a child who cannot sleep.
"Yes," I answered, not sure where he was going with this.
"Well they aren't.  They aren't at the north pole or the south pole," the he paused.
"Are you using this as an example of when I was wrong?" I asked, hardly able to repress my laughter.
"Yes.  You were wrong."
"Ok, but I'm not wrong about this.  I know a lot about Santa."
And he seemed to accept this, or maybe he just couldn't come up with an example of my ignorance on this topic and decided to let it slide.  Soon he was asleep.
When he woke up  few hours later on Christmas morning, he rushed to the tree to see if I was really was right.  And I was.
Santa was hungry!

Santa did come, and he left presents!

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