December 31, 2007

Naughty Day

My most valuable bargaining chip as a parent is gone. The naughty or nice list. I only discovered its powers mid-December but it was a sure-fire way to get my two year old to be good. "Pixie, you better put down that flame-thrower or Santa won't bring you any presents." Or, "Pixie, if you don't stop suffocating your sister Santa will put you on the naughty list." The powers of the naughty list made all my parenting dreams come true. Up until then, I'd used the line, "that makes Jesus sad," but she didn't seem to care. Santa was a much more effective motivator.

On Christmas Eve, Pixie was up to her usual tricks and I reminded her about the naughty list. "You want presents, don't you? But don't worry, after you get your presents you can be as naughty as you want."
"Really?" she asked.
"Yup. After you get your presents on Christmas, it's Naughty Day because you don't have to be good anymore. What are you going to do on Naughty Day?"
Without hesitation, Pixie rattled off her list with glowing eyes. "I'm going to pull all my clothes off their hangers and stick my hands in the toilet and run in the street and hit Daddy and be mean to Grandpa -"
My screaming laughter drowned out everything else she said. But the damage had been done. All of Christmas Eve, all Pixie could talk about was the upcoming Naughty Day.

That night when I put Pixie to bed, I told her that when she woke up it would be Christmas! She burst into tears. "I don't want Christmas! I want Naughty Day!"
"Oh. We'll it will be that too." I put her to bed, hoping that maybe she'd forget by morning that I'd given her a free pass to evil.

Luckily, the present opening the next morning took hours since family kept arriving with fresh waves of gifts. But finally there was nothing more to be opened. We were sitting at Christmas dinner when Pixie poked my side. "Is it Naughty Day now?"
'Here it goes,' I thought. 'How to do you break it to a kid that there is no such thing as Naughty Day? It's like telling a kid that Santa got stuck in the fireplace and burned to death.' But I had to do it. "Pixie, I was just kidding about Naughty Day. We need to be good and nice all the time otherwise everyone will get hurt and sad." Pixie's bottom lip began to tremble.
"But you said..."
"How about I let you poke me for a while?" I offered. Her face lit up and she brandished 10 pokey fingers.
For the next few minutes I was the poor girl's poking bag. I deserved it. I'd been oh-so-naughty.


Heffalump said...

For some people, every day is naughty day!
Its too bad the threat of Santa only works for the few months before Christmas. The rest of the year we have to wing it.

Boy Mom said...

Hollywood, you are a very talented writer. You(well, you and trying to read my own writing) have inspired me to take an English class and actually pay attention this time around.
Love your blog!

Bethany said...

Hoooooboy! You're in trouble now! She will remember naughty day for years too come. Too cute.

s'mee said...

This month is such a special month, it's Christmas time, you know?
I'd really like a pile o please put on a show!
I'll be good, you know I will, at least 'till "Naughty Day".
Then Santa dear, you will be gone...
and I will get to "play"!

Kate said...

I think that I would enjoy a Naughty Day :) There are some things I would love to do and just get a pass on them.

Her Royal Highness said...

I couldn't believe she was able to rattle off her naughty list so quickly!
I got so mad at #1 this year for being so naughty that I actually told him Santa wasn't real. And then I felt horrible and totally lied through my teeth & made him real again.

Caroline said...

I wish Santa had that effect on my kids. They're naughty all the time.

Karen said...

That is absolutely hysterical! I have learned my lesson and will never use that reasoning.

She'll put her hands in the toilet?! That's not naughty, that's just plain nasty. haha

Jill said...

There was one Christmas when my daughter actually said "Santa brought me everything I want, so now I don't have to be good anymore!"
Another year, my Son was very naughty on Christmas, so Christmas night, Santa came back and took away his favorite toys. He had to be nice for two weeks before he got them back.

Basic Black with Pearls said...

This so well illustrates why I hope none of my kids ever really BELIEVED in Santa. Too tricky! The very idea of a person who would bring them what they wanted if they were good, but not bring it to other good kids whose parents couldn't afford the booty rankled my soul. I always told them that Santa was only as real as their favorite imaginary characters. The charade was just too hard! I had no such qualms about the Easter Bunny, however; as that didn't seem to stir the same selfish expectations within their little heads.

JLJ said...

Your little girl is getting so beautiful. She doesn't look like she has a naughty bone in her body. My brother says there are no bad kids, just bad parents. (most days I refuse to believe this) So I'm sure she's wonderful!

wynne said... made "Naughty Day" up? Please say it isn't true...while I was reading, I admit, my eyes lit up as I was thinking of all the stuff on my Naughty List.

And then you killed it.

*sniff* I'd better go put away the slingshot, the bag of truffles, and the super glue.

Why, hollywood, why?!?

emma jo said...

You are so very clever.

Amy said...

When I was a kid there was some point every December where I refused to go to bed or committed some other infraction, so my dad would say, "We'll just have to call Santa." He'd dial the number and tell Santa about the problem then hand the phone to me. We had a nice conversation in which Santa encouraged me to obey my parents and assured me that there was still time for repentance and I might still get some presents. Later on I figured out it was my uncle and my dad would do the same thing for his kids.

Sue said...

Bwa ha ha ha Naughty Day. Or as we like to call it, Tuesday.

Love it.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

There really should be a Naughty Day. I think it's only fair.

MRKH said...

Hmmmm... I wonder if that's how Mardi Gras and Carnaval got started... :-)


Shiloh said...

I read this book once when I was a kid where each child in the family got one free pass a year (they were older children of course). They could play a prank/do something naughty and then not get in any kind of trouble for it. I tried to convince my mom that this was a great idea-- but it didn't fly.
I think all the kid in the book did was let the cow loose or something-- I always figured I would come up with something more clever than that.
Wish I could remember the name of that book...

Jessica G. said...

Amazing how she already knew exactly what she would do on Naughty Day! Maybe give her Naughty Five Minutes?

Suzie Petunia said...

You totally deserve what you got for letting her believe there was such a thing as "naughty day". :) Oh, wait... EVERY day is Naughty Day when you are 3!

Annie said...

...and then Baby Jesus cried.

Hollywood said...

I love the concept of Naughty Day but sadly, as a mother, I could never sit back and let it happen. I wish I could though. What fun!

Her Royal Highness, using the "Santa's not real" line as a punishment is pretty harsh! I just went ahead and told my two year old he was imaginary from the get-go so she wouldn't get confused. But she does have about a zillion imaginary friends so the concept was pretty easy for her to get. I'm glad you were able to lie and save the day! Kids a dumb ;)

Jill - you are HARD CORE! Taking away the Christmas presents for two weeks!? That's a lesson he'll never forget!

Amy, that's an awesome trick with your dad and uncle! There is some first class parenting deception going on. Even the smart kids would have trouble figuring that one out.