Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Did Santa Take My Toy, Or Was He Just Happy to See Me?

It's like that thing, where you tell a child about something off-handedly and then he's scarred by it for the rest of his life.

Around Christmastime last year, I purged the children's toys before the big holiday haul. I thought I was being really clever and couldn't believe that the kids didn't notice. The toys went off to our local charity.

But then the kids did notice.

And I wasn't prepared with an answer for their inquiries.

So one day, when both Jacko and Lu were screaming at each other and I was dealing with my PMDD, I thoughtlessly told Jack that the motorcycle he was looking for had been taken by Santa to give to another kid. Instead of interpreting that in the charitable manner I had intended, Jack heard this:

Santa takes toys.

And now when we can't find a toy, Jacko casually asks, "So, did Santa take that toy or is it just lost in the house somewhere?" Even after several discussions about kids who don't have toys and sharing what we have with others, Santa is still the purported culprit for any missing toy case.

I would tell him about giving the toys to our local charity, but we shop at the charity's thrift store regularly. He would be on the lookout for his own toys instead of shopping for a new-to-him toy.

As Jacko and Lucy get older, I know we will have more misunderstandings like this. Those misunderstandings will probably have deeper ramifications than simply distrusting Santa. I only get frustrated when I realize that it was my poor choice of words that caused this particular one.

Have you ever caused a misunderstanding in a child's mind?
Was it on purpose or accidental?

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