Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Proper Care and Feeding of Magical Creatures

Pin It Yesterday's post and comments reminded me about our little - Christmas problem. We have some Santa - issues.

For a long time Sarah was under the impression that Jesus lived in heaven with Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman. In her mind they are all magical creatures with special powers, and it's hard to disabuse her of the notion because - well, Santa is magic, right? And Jesus is - well, not magic, but powerful. (It's a fine line.) I'm surprised, frankly, that she is not terrified of little baby Jesus. Because the girl is petrified of anything even faintly magical.

I remember when she first found out about Santa Claus. "An old man is going to - come into my house? In the middle of the night? From out of the fireplace? And he steals food? And - and he's watching me, right now?" She was terrified. She wanted nothing to do with this Santa Claus man, and she didn't care if he left her presents. She just wanted him to STAY OUT OF HER HOUSE.



Every time we tried to talk to her about it, to reassure her, she got more upset. She made me promise that I would tell him not to come by, that we were fine. She asked me to meet him at the store to pick up the toys, then bring them home for her to open on Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve, when other kids are telling stories about how Santa Claus is coming to town and gleefully watching out the window and listening for sleigh bells, she's making us check the locks. We don't talk a whole lot about Santa around here. When we do, it's in hushed tones.

Her fear of magical creatures does not start and end with Santa. When I was filling out the paperwork for pre-school a few years ago, there was a sheet that asked, "Does your child have any special fears," and I dutifully wrote, "Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, magic people, mean fairies, etc." I thought the teacher would understand this extended to leprechauns.

On St. Patrick's Day, stupid me, I sent her to pre-school not realizing there would be a whole leprechaun THING. (Here in my neck of the woods, people go nuts over every holiday. EVERY holiday. This is the only place I've ever lived where there are treasure hunts on St. Patrick's Day - where the leprechauns leave treats for the children. ) The teacher decided it would be fun to tell the kids that leprechauns were in the preschool bathroom that morning wreaking havoc, and proceeded to show them how the bathroom is a big mess, with drawers open, and toilet paper strewn about.

Cue the other children laughing with delight. Cue the other children looking for the leprechaun and finding the treasure and happily eating candy. Cue Sarah getting hysterical. Cue Sarah refusing to use that bathroom for the rest of the school year. Cue Sarah peeing herself rather than having to use that bathroom.

I think she is starting to grow out of it because she DID allow the Tooth Fairy to come by - I think because the Tooth Fairy deals in cash, and she is currently fascinated with the whole concept of money.

I asked her tonight if she would like to go see Santa at the mall and she responded with a nervous smile, "Uh, sure. Maybe." Followed by nervous laughter and darting eyes. Carter patted her on the back then made an imaginary gun with his fingers and said, "Don' worry Sare, I shock him for ya, pow pow." Great. My kid wants to off Santa. But at least he's doing it for his sister, and that's sort of - nice. Right? Right?

Right?

P.S. Any of you who are Harry Potter fans recognized the post title. My kids? They would not recognize it. Because we can't watch Harry Potter. We can't watch anything marginally scarier than Barbie and the Island Princess. Elmo Saves Christmas was alarming. Barbie Fairytopia FREAKED. THEM. OUT and they refused to walk upstairs alone for a month, because, you know, there might be evil barbie fairies hidden in the playroom. If I were to show them Harry Potter? They would probably need counseling.

P.P.S. Thanks to a commenter I just realized that "The Proper Care and Feeding of" is not from Harry Potter but from Dr. Laura. So my first P.S. makes - not a lot of sense. But you get the idea.

54 comments:

  1. Great title... Harry Potter meets Dr. Laura!

    Ps... I think if the kids are afraid of evil Barbie counseling may be inevitable!

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  2. I do have to question the teacher choosing the bathroom as the hangout place for the leprechauns. Seriously, wasn't she asking for a teeny, tiny bit of trouble there?!

    Heidi

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  3. Once my Mother-in-law told my kids that the sand man was going to sneak in after they were asleep and put sand in their eyes to make them dream. Come On! My girls were in tears at bed time and made me swear an oath that no man would make it by me with sand.

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  4. P.S. Love the picture!

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  5. totally loved this! i came here from a link somehow (nanowrimo has made me sleep-deprived, so god knows what link it was) and instantly love everything about this blog.
    i now *have* to go back and read some more, but i can't do it now because my 2yo is hassling me to play ball. but the sidebar said you'd die, and so that's why i'm commenting this stupid-long comment. i'm trying to save your life so i can read more of you.

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  6. Too funny. Which one did you mention to her before you took the picture?? HA!

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  7. Love the picture. And I know magical creatures are fun (to me, and to some others) but I think that teacher was asking for trouble! Little kids are so apt to believe everything they're told...I think when I was that age I would have been afraid to use that bathroom too!!

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  8. I'm going to have to stop reading this blog - I get jealous. Too, too funny - "hushed tones," "off Santa" - oh, my goodness. I'm trying to imagine what you churn out as a technical writer - are you sure this sort of stuff doesn't sneak in there sometimes?

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  9. Barbie Fairytopia FREAKS ME OUT.
    (Really.)

    My oldest is recovering from F.O.P (Festive Ornamentation Phobia) which includes a fear of jack-o-lanterns and Christmas trees. So I'm with you; the holidays are a mixed bag of delights and scary-scaries.

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  10. My oldest was very freaked out when he was younger. We went ahead and told him that Santa was a game that millions of people were playing - that the guy at the mall was in a Christmas/Halloween costume (he did need counseling for Halloween, dressing up - not magic -was his nemesis) and that anyone who wanted to could play along.That kind of helped him.

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  11. I thought this post was funny but I echo the people on he pre-school teacher. Kids are believing things and That was just asking for trouble.

    My almost two year old wa scared of all the trick-or-treaters this year. He didn't like it at all.

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  12. Care of Magical Creatures was a class at Hogwarts, wasn't it?

    It sounds like you must be very, um, CREATIVE, in your holiday festivities.

    I'm with you and family adventure about the leprechauns in the bathroom. WTF was that teacher thinking?

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  13. That is hysterical. Unless you're the one having to deal with it. Which I am not. So, yeah, that is hysterical!

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  14. too funny. I'm not even sure if my kids know about Santa yet, we're kinda small so holidays haven't been too big around here.

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  15. My son told me (in an authoritative tone) that Santa & the Tooth Fairy are not real. 'Cause Dad said so. So no pretending traditions around here. My husband doesn't believe in lying to the kids, as he puts it. I think he just wants credit for the gifts...I like to...allow them to believe in magic for a few years at least. I'm going to have a moment of silence now.

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  16. So, it's safe to say, you aren't planning a Disney vacation anytime soon eh>

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  17. We used to have a stuffed Santa that my husband put out when we decorated for Christmas. He told the kids there was a hidden camera in it and that is how Santa watches them. Needless-to-say, it scared the crap out of them. We would find Santa facing the wall or with a pillow case over him. It was kind of funny but mean, I know.

    The more I think of the whole Santa thing, the more I'm starting not to like it. One of my little sons, who is a VERY good kid, asked me why our neighbors always get really good presents when they are naughty and he only got small presents when he tries to be good. How do you respond to that?

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  18. Okay, this was one of the funniest posts I've ever read, and the picture brought it all together! Hilarious!

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  19. My youngest is like this too...not so much magical creatures but leaving home to visit places, or anything else irrational she can come up with. We went to visit her brother in SF and she freaked because we were going to be near "the Pacific Ocean". Around here leprechauns always visit the kindergarten rooms and leave little green footprints (and messes) everywhere. I also have a friend who would do the same sort of thing at home for her kids even turning the toilet water green!

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  20. My kids have asked me in the same breath, "Is Jesus real?" "Is Santa real?" How do I keep some credibility?

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  21. Love the picture, esp. the pigtails. I had that SAME hairdo in my kindergarten school picture.

    You, my dear, are hilarious. Your story telling just gets better and better.

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  22. Oh, Sue~ that is SO funny!
    Maybe Santa could start bringing cash!

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  23. I think you were thinking of the care of magical creatures class. I got it. I knew what you meant.

    I think my hubby and I are on the edge of a big disagreement. This is the year we decide how to broach the subject of Santa Claus to our oldest (3 years old). Considering she thinks she can fly and waves anything vaguely stick like around shouting bippity-boppity-boo!, I think we won't have your particular problem.

    It's always something though.

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  24. Hey, you had me going, I thought the title post came from the HP series myself. I know they did take a class in the care of magical creatures, nothing like a blast ended skrew thingy to scare a kid or two!

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  25. My older brothers "accidently" let me watch Tremors when I was seven(you know that absolutely campy 80's/90's movie about giant earthworm/snakes that eat a whole town)....then my little brother snuck into my room and grabbed my leg and pulled me off of the bed after I'd gone to bed - I'm sure with NO help from big brothers.

    I refused to step on the ground for the entire weekend. I jumped from chair to couch to chair. My parents were so annoyed with my brothers that they made them carry me when there wasn't furniture to jump on.

    So how about those giant earthworm/snake thingies?

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  26. annette1:33 PM

    My kids have nightmares when they watch Charlie Brown.

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  27. Oh, that is unfortunate. I can't even imagine not liking that stuff as a kid. It's like, what kids do, ya know?

    I'm seriously afraid of all things dark, but that's because I read too many Stephen King novels as a child. I grew out of most of it, maybe she will too. Just don't ever let her see Lord of the Rings!

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  28. So funny in a sad sort of way - isn't it? Good post - have a good day.

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  29. The whole Santa thing is cracking me up. I can totally understand the leprechaun thing being scary, I think they are kind of scary too. And then to think they have been in the bathroom, I probably wouldn't have used the school bathroom anymore either. Perfect picture for this post.

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  30. Jesus and Santa were on equal planes with me until I was about 7.

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  31. Holy cow! My boys are not little anymore and I have totally forgotten how easily traumatized kids can get. Although I think my boys did more terrorizing than being terrorized.

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  32. madhousewife5:19 PM

    That's the exact opposite of my kids. They're totally in denial about magic. A few months ago my 9-year-old told me that someone had told her Santa wasn't real, that he was "just your parents." And she said, "But that can't be true because it just doesn't make any *sense*." Gotta love that girl.

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  33. That is really amusing... my oldest is scared of everything and my second is not scared of anything.. they come how they come... she may always be scared of 'magical creature' - come on- sometimes they are kind of scary!

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  34. I totally got the title!

    For what it's worth, my girls don't do Harry Potter yet either. Too scary.

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  35. Oh, boy. Your Megan and my Malayna would get along FABULOUSLY. We saw the Santa display at the mall today and I could see the fear in her eyes. And Santa wasn't even there yet. I have a photo of her from last year waving to Santa from the second story of the mall (he was on the first floor).

    That leprechaun thing was crazy! What was that teacher thinking?

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  36. I had a girl child afraid of masks, flies and umbrellas until she was about 4. I am not sure if her older brothers had anything to do with this...

    We told the kids that Santa, the tooth fairy et al were made up stories, just for fun because we didn't want the kids to ever think Jesus was in the same realm, or that what we told them could not be trusted. It didn't seem worth it.

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  37. AHHH, that's really funny, but kind of sad, too. My daughter is obsessed with fairies at the moment. She was actually in tears not too many weeks ago that she'd never seen a real one, even when she really really REALLY believes. LOL

    I guess you won't have to worry about her being upset when she finds out about Santa for REAL.

    HUGS

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  38. Seriously...I can't take this humor! You too funny! That picture says it all. Hilarious.

    Don't worry, soon her littl ebuddies will explain that's it's all pretend anyway. Then what will you do??! Heehee.

    Too funny.

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  39. Oh, Sue - I can SO relate to this. My youngest is afraid of everything that has to do with fantasy of any kind. She also has to be talked to about anything that might come up that she isn't expecting. It is exhausting. Lucky for me, she is my last child, if she wasn't, she would ruin everything for the younger ones!
    Have a good night.

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  40. Maybe it is time to clue Megan in to the truth about all of this. She is so serious and sensitive. She will probably feel greatly relieved, although she might be really mad at you for not telling her sooner! We never encouraged you kids to believe in Santa. I didn't want you to have Jesus/Santa confusion or be puzzled at the inequities of Santa's gift giving.

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  41. Maybe it's just the late hour, but I was laughing out loud through this entire post. Seriously funny stuff. Leprechauns in the school bathroom? Meeting Santa at the store to pick up goodies? Evil Barbie fairies? Oh my, you've just made my night. And that picture of her is priceless! Thanks for the great post :)

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  42. Wow... Santa has become a much more trivial matters since I was a kid... it's odd that we put so much thought into things like this.

    Santa is about fun... along with the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and other made-up characters that take flight during their particular holiday or event, but I do have to say that I don't know one person who has ever been angry at their parents for letting them believe in Santa as a kid... nor do I know anyone who decided that which they learned about Jesus was void considering the fact that Santa wasn't real?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    Great pic by the way!!!!!!!!

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  43. Nicole8:02 AM

    Funny! I laughed so hard! How did you get that hilarious photo...er, I mean, poor thing. I'm sure she'll outgrow it :)

    The things we do to kids. I still have a hard time falling asleep at night because granma use to always say "...don't let the bed bugs bite!" Seriously? I always thought I could feel them crawling on me...

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  44. Oh, yeah. My girls were terrified of some of them, too. And then came the terrible day when I had to confess that yeah, I actually did lie to the kids about all that stuff. Who ate Santa's cookies? Me. Who hid their Easter baskets? Me. Who put the dollars under their pillow? Me. What did I do with the teeth? Flushed them down the toilet.

    My kids had a huge trust issue with me after that. Seriously. Why do we do this to our kids? It's not really that much fun, after all.

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  45. my son is just the same... always scared. last night i had to hold him for an extended period of time because he didn't like the idea of rudolph the red nosed reindeer.

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  46. Jake wants to off Santa! heeeeeeeeeelarious!!! I am still giggling about that one. That's a sweet brother, willing to wack St Nick for his sister.

    What is the teacher's deal with the leprechan story?! that would scare me!

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  47. It kills me that your child wants to off Santa! I love it!
    My kids are, unfortunately, the exact opposite. In fact, they think THEY are fairies and that fairies visit them in the night and stuff. And I'm always having to patiently listen to stories about the lives of fairies and how they have insider information because they ARE fairies. Ugh. It's exhausting.

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  48. Antique Mommy5:43 AM

    My 3YO is scared of Santa. And some of the Little Bear characters and Nemo and... The upside is that we don't watch a lot of TV. The downside is that we've watched the "Cars" movie 784 times. Ka-chow.

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  49. Ha ha! That picture is absolutely classic. And I've just read a whole bunch of your blogs and I'm totally here to stay.

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  50. first time and not the last that I will be reading your witty and fun posts! This one truly entertained.
    Thanks!

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  51. Sarah's right! This is the best post ever :o)

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  52. I stumbled over your blog someway, I don't remember how and wanted to leave a post to make sure I didn't kill off a little bit of you.

    My 2yo granddaughter does not like Santa, no way. She will look at him from a distance but don't even suggest taking a picture. Funny thing is, she was afraid of nothing at Halloween, none of the masks, no one that was trick or treating, nothing. But Santa, oh the horror!

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  53. I was scared of what was behind bathtub curtains. I always had to open them!

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  54. Oh my...laughing hysterically...HOW did I miss this first time round? Poor, poor child. I can actually relate--I was scared stiff of angels as a child, and hated the verse about God always watching me.
    I personally find Barbie frightening myself, but that's just me.

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