My oldest son, when he hears the phrase, “Christmas is coming,” says it’s like the equivalent of hearing a Neanderthal dragging his un-manicured talons in vicious circles across a pre-historic chalkboard, you know, if there were chalkboards in pre-history. But, have I mentioned in the last fifteen minutes that all three of my children have birthdays in December? What else is a parent in this situation to say when their progeny bring up an item they need in October?
I didn’t realize this was such a sore point for him. It came up at dinner the other night.
“I could really use a new keyboard for my computer,” he said.
“Well, Christmas is coming!” I enthused, because of course I was happy to have at least one thing on the list for Christmas and birthday presents.
“God I hate when you say that.” And each of his siblings vociferously agreed.
Was it because I emoted it out with all the sanctimonious gravity and drama of a Stark? Winter is coming. Christmas is coming. Because frankly, I approach both Christmas and winter with equal amounts of dread. Christmas and winter make me wish I had a castle (built over hot springs, natch) in which I could hide from October until January first. Ugh.
No, it was because he’d been hearing this phrase since he was two, when he had all the patience of, well, a two-year-old.
“Mom, I would really like a new Sponge Bob video.”
“Well, Christmas is coming!”
“$&% Mom. It’s June.”
It's hard not to give your children everything they want, when they want it. I think we're kinda hard-wired to want to spoil them if we can. We live in a society that thrills to instant gratification. So how do you teach them patience? How do you raise your kids to not become spoiled little brats that expect the world to revolve around them? Immediately? Kids that become adults with Adult Infant Syndrome?
Here's one way: when they tell you in October that a new version of Minecraft was just released, you look them straight in the eye, with a dour expression full of self-satisfied superiority and tell them, "Christmas is coming."
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