I hope you have pants on

After the most wonderful Christmas Eve day full of traveling, family, church, and fun, we calmly put Clare to bed at the usual time of eight o’clock. During our bed time ritual, we giggled about what Santa would bring, said night time prayers, distributed good dreams fairy dust and turned out the lights. Like every other parent of a young child on Christmas Eve, on our way out of the bedroom we sing-songed a sweet warning to her, “You must hurry up and get to sleep. If Santa comes and you’re awake, he won’t leave any presents.” Giggling, I started back toward the living room feeling the relief of knowing that it was eight o’clock and we had nothing else to do except display the beautifully wrapped and glitter embellished presents that I had prepared the night before.  Oh, and to open that new bottle of wine we received as a gift. Parenting win, check! Christmas Eve win, check!

…let this perfect moment sink in for just a moment...

Ten minutes later, I hear the local fire truck racing down the street toward our neighborhood - you know the one with a fireman dressed as Santa on top of it. Before I could reason with myself, I started hysterically screaming Clare’s name and yelling for her to hurry and come to the front door so she could see Santa. Mason in a confused tone starts yelling back, “Lael, what in the world? Stop! We don’t even know if they’re coming to our neighborhood…Wait, they’re coming. It’s coming. It’s coming!” In the horrifying confusion that followed, Clare, in a legitimate state of fear, comes running to the front door. I grabbed her in my arms and ran outside with her in pajamas in the freezing night time air. Mason is right behind us with my coat. We get to watch the fire truck drive by our house at 100 mph with a coat half draped over her feet and my shoulders, as Santa hurls pieces of candy at us in the dark. It wasn’t exactly magical, but boy was it exciting. Screaming mommies and fire truck sirens should be everyone’s normal on Christmas Eve. Fourteen seconds later, we put her to bed again. This time she asked us to hurry up and get out of her room so she could go to sleep. Not a win, not exactly a loss. We’ll call it a wash.

An hour later, the excitement of Christmas got to me and Mason and we decide we needed to reinforce the myth of Santa. We created an elaborate scheme for me to go and crawl into bed with Clare, who was supposed to be asleep, while Mason went outside with bells. Mason would ring his bells and this would wake her from her precious slumber so she would think reindeer were outside of her window. I would be there when she woke up so she wouldn’t be scared. Perfect, right? However, when I went to crawl into her bed, she was wide awake. I excitedly told her that Santa was in our area and that she needed to hurry up and get to sleep before he got to our house. Next thing you know, there are ringing bells and some thump thump thumping outside of the house. PERFECT!! She squeezed her eyes closed and we both gasped because Santa was there. A minute later there was a significantly louder, and more unexpected, thud that came from the roof. It startled me, so I jumped. She immediately warned me through gritted teeth, “You’d better be asleep.” I nearly bit my tongue in half trying not to laugh. In the whisper of someone about to choke to death, I told her I was. . The next thing I know, Mason is making his way back down the hall. With all the creaking and cracking of the floor boards, he sounded like a 7ft tall, 500 lb gorilla coming toward us. Of course, she thought Santa on his way to her room. She curled in close to me and with the quietest voice I’ve ever heard her use, she breathed into my ear, “I hope you have pants on”. I lost it. I started laughing so uncontrollably that I had to excuse myself and get out of her bed without so much as a good night. I can only imagine her wondering if Mommy had ruined her chance for presents since I kept her from going to sleep (twice).  We'll add this to her future therapy list.

Today I’m left to wonder why she was worried if I had pants on when Santa was on his way to her room, and if I run around without pants often enough for this to be a problem.