Thursday, 18 December 2014

Toxic Baking Soda

So this happened today.

Me = Purple
Friend = Blue

I love my friends. *hugs*

How To Santa

How And Why
To Lie To Your Loin Spawn About Santa

Lying to kids is fun.
But I don't like the word 'lie' it makes it seem like I'm an villain who takes candy from babies or something. Instead I call it "filling their heads with pixie dust". 
Because my kind of lies are not only harmless, they are fun.
Long ago when my cousins were young, their auntie and I convinced them that there was a little monster (a friendly one) that lived in her mouth, and every so often it would poke it's eye out an look around. This was in reality their aunties tongue ring, which some times she wore a little eyeball stud on the end, and would stick it out of her mouth. They kids LOVED this and they would laugh and giggle, point an shout "Aunties monster is looking around!" Fun for everyone.

I also love telling kids about 'the fairy world' filled with unicorns, all kinds of fairies, and other magical creatures. I tell them about how to sit still in the forest and look for fairies which are hard to see, and when going to popular walking trails, to get them to mind their footing I tell them that there are Gnomes that live in the forest, and that they are grumpy and like to raise tree roots and throw rocks on the path to trip you. So mind where you step! This turned into a fantastic game with my little cousins, but I really made their belief solid when I pointed across to a fenced in area and pointed out the difference between the path we were walking on, which was covered in exposed roots and rocks, and the area where no one walked which was untouched. "This is because no one walks there", i said, "so the gnomes don't have cause to mess up that area". My little cousin looked at me with magic in her eyes "You mean it is real!!!" to which I replied "of course it is." I'll let her figure out erosion on her own. :p

Part 1: Mommy Lies

First and foremost I'm going to tell you why you should lie to your kids about the existence of Santa. I find many parents these days love to ride in on a high horse about 'not lying' to their child about the existence of Santa. The song they sing goes something like this.

"We teach our children not to lie, yet we lie to them all the time about Santa, or the tooth fairy. What are we really teaching our kids if we say some things are OK to lie about and others aren't?"

Seems like a pretty good base for an argument against 'lying' to your kids about Santa I suppose. However I also notice these are the same types of parents that will secretly take an 'annoying toy' away from a child and say "it must be lost", or as they walk past my face painting table they say to their kids "we'll come back later" and I never see them again. What about all the times we tell kids white lies like these, or even bigger ones? "Your gold fish just likes to sleep upside down some times" meanwhile you go get an identical one from the pet store to replace it, or the family dog is old and sick and needs to be put down, so you tell the kids he's going to go live on a nice farm.*

"I'm too old for this nonsense."

There are all kinds of practical reasons to lie to your kids, and also trivial ones. Santa is both trivial and harmless, bo why is lying about a jolly northern fat man so bad?
"I was devastated when I found out there was no Santa. I hated that my parents lied to me, so I'm not going to lie to my kids."
There are two types of people in this world: Those who grow the f*** up and realize it was all in good natured fun. And those who are jaded and immature .If you were crushed to learn there was no Santa and you still aren't over it, then I think that says a lot about you as a person. Get over yourself.

One wonders if these types of people are the type to take their kids to see a magician pull a rabbit out of their hat, and then stand up and yell "That's not real! It was under the table the entire time!"

Are you going to ruin the fun for the kids (and everyone) by saying 'it's just a trick' or are you going to let them enjoy it by playing along and saying "it's magic!"?

Weaving fantastic tales and inspiring magic and creativity is not a lie, it's a story, and much like a magicians magic trick, it's much funner to enjoy when you don't know the truth behind it.
This my dear readers, is what I call 'the art of bullsh!t', 

Part 2: The Successful Bullsh!t

The Foundation
First thing you have to do is set up the foundation for 'your Santa'. I say 'your Santa' because every parent out there is going to have a slightly different version of what Santa is in their house hold. For some families he eats cookies and milk, for some he only fills stockings, or some times he has a black sidekick/slave or a long tongued devil who accompany him. What ever you choose to be the characteristics of your Santa - keep it consistent, which brings me to...

Keep it Consistent
If you put out cookies and milk, always do that. If you write letters to Santa, do it every year. Choose early on if Santa only gives gifts to just children or to everyone. This is also about establishing traditions to help make everything fun for the entire family.

Keep it Real
The first tenant of a successful lie is to not dress it up with too much fluff. If when you talk about Santa you always have a near sarcastic 'magical/whimsical' tone, the kids are going to catch on rather early that this is not something real or to be taken seriously. Kids aren't that stupid. Instead talk about Santa in a frank 'mater of fact' kind of way, as if it's as normal as explaining anything else in life. Don't make everything 'real', if you go to see some reindeer at a farm, don't pretend they are Santa's. Say they are merely reindeer, but Santa has the magic ones that fly. (oh also, they only can fly on Christmas eve). Don't go overboard either, keep it lighthearted and fun.

Secret Intel
Don't be afraid to point out stuff that is fake. Your kid at a certain age will totally be able to tell a fake beard from a real one, so don't be afraid to tell them that some people dress up and pretend to be Santa from time to time. (maybe also include that they 'work' for Santa in some fashion). But remember this is a SECRET, and that they shouldn't go telling it to people who still think the fake Santa is real, or else you might hurt their feelings.

Have All The Answers
Make sure you have a mental list of thought out explanations for any questions, or anything possible 'fun spoilers' might say to your kid. Don't rely on saying just "it's magic" as a catch all answer, or else they will know that you don't have an answer. Given that different people will tell them different things, remember that YOU are the authority on Santa and that other people just repeat things they have heard and can be wrong. No need to try to cover up by incorporating everything anyone has ever said about Santa into your Santa doctrine.

Always Have 'Proof'
Take bites out of the cookies and drink a bit of milk. Decide if you want to use online things like the NORAD Santa Tracking thing, or services that write letters back to kids who write to Santa. Making Reindeer tracks to show your kids in the morning is fun, or footprints from the fireplace. Dress up your bullsh!t with fun things for the kids to find on their own, and DO NOT backseat drive by pointing things out to them every step of the way, let them find it themselves, it's funner that way.

P.S. Don't get caught!!

Part 3: Santa Is Not A Genie.

Keep it simple. I heard kids on the radio the other day reading out what they asked Santa for, and there was no shortage of Game System requests, expensive toys, and even money! One kid wanted $500 from Santa, I kid you not! I have seen kids with lists for Santa that were many pages long, listing everything under the sun. Of course Santa can't give it all to them, and even if you are Bill Gates, why would you want to? This only fosters greed in your own children and then disappointment if they don't get what they want from Santa.

Also remember not every family has the cash to give these expensive 'Santa gifts' and it leaves poorer children wondering why Santa is such a discriminating SOB when their friend gets a new X-box, while they get a new hat and some mittens. In my house Santa is a modest man who gives modest gifts. He doesn't manufacture PS4's or iPad's in his workshop. He doesn't even give Barbies, or other brand name stuff. He makes simple toys for good children. Save the expensive stuff to be given by YOU, as this also teaches your kids to respect money.

Or here is a novel idea - teach your kids the REAL meaning of Christmas isn't STUFF! If you are Christian then focus on the birth of Jesus. Jewish? Light those candles! Spend time with family, and celebrate in good cheer. If you're building your Christmas around shopping for gifts, that's what your child will think the holiday is about. Instead try to emphasize holiday traditions that don't cost any money, like cookie baking, singing carols, and creating homemade gifts. I love giving gifts, don't get me wrong. But I like the idea of kids not being materialistic consumer whores, even more.

Here's a fun little article on how to not have a greedy kid
Teaching Kids Not To Be Greedy

Santa also isn't an all seeing God figure who will withhold material wealth unless you are good.

My cousin used to pretend to call Santa up on her cell phone to tell him that her kid was being bad. This action or threat, used to spark panic in her kid, and worse yet did nothing to really correct her bad behavior. Another negative effect is she learned that Santa was not real because she ended up getting everything she wanted from him on Christmas regardless of her behavior.

Part 4: The Truth Comes Out

So some jaded sad person choose tell their kids there is no Santa. What happens next?  Do they say "oh thank you for telling me, this will save me from being as sad and jaded as you." NO! They go to school and proceed to tell all the other children there is no Santa, because kids are mean and they love lording over other kids that they have information that the other kids don't!

Again this can be solved by the foundation you set up for having an answer for everything.
"Timmy, I know that Billy said there was no Santa, but that's because his parents told him that, to spare him the shame of getting coal in his stocking for being a little prick." Or something similar. Always have an explanation.

Eventually over time the kids will figure it out on their own as they grow up. Don't make too big a deal out of it, you don't need to be serious and have a family meeting about it. Did you need a big explanation when you found out dad wasn't really stealing your nose off your face?

"You mean to tell me it was really your thumb all this time."

If you did your job right and made the experience fun and lighthearted, and not some year long threat to keep them in line with promises of material wealth, then you can pass the torch and teach them the 'art of bullsh!t' to bring fun to the next generation.

* Seriously though don't lie to your kids about a dead or dying pet to 'spare them the trauma'. Your job is to create a fully functioning human being, and them being aware of death is part of that. If your dog is old and dying, tell them the truth and come together as a family to help each other through it. If their goldfish died because they didn't feed it; be honest that they screwed up and that this is the consequence. "What have we learned?"