Friday, December 11, 2009

Fatherhood Friday part 2: A very special Christmas tale

The big question with 4 to 5 year olds this time of year is whether or not they still believe in Santa Claus. Their belief in the Big Guy is tenuous at best, as there are many forces working against their desire to believe. Children see the multiple Santas around the malls and at parties and they begin to realize that the one doesn’t look like the other. They hear things from the older kids at day care, or at school. Maybe it’s sloppy hiding of presents by the parents, or a child who suddenly learns how to spell while their parents discuss P R E S E N T S over dinner.
Most experts agree that when the child is ready, you have a sit down and ask them what THEY believe. You neither confirm nor deny, you simply nod your head and listen.
But this morning presented a different problem. When do you tell your child about Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo? This morning, while getting ready, we let Eli play in the shower as Anna got dressed and Tod dried off. He likes to hang out and play in the water as it drips from the shower head, this distraction gives us time to get ourselves taken care of and to get Anna on the way to getting ready as well. This morning however, Eli had different plans. Instead of just playing, he used the shower as a toilet and dropped a Yule log right in the shower floor. I was still in my pajamas, so Tod was the lucky one who had to go in and clean up the deuce that Eli dropped while playing. Since the oral surgery on Tuesday, I have been on a myriad of drugs and my stomach has not been the best. I couldn’t take seeing or smelling the lump of coal that he delivered to us so I left the bathroom and began singing the “Mr Hankey” song from South Park as I helped Anna get ready.
“Papa, who is Mr. Hankey?” she asked. Her little eyes were big with wonder and excitement as she posed this eternal question to me. I had a lump as big as Eli’s morning delivery in my throat as I told her that this was not the year to learn of the wonders of Mr. Hankey, and that when she was old enough, we would share in the magical story together. Perhaps around the fire with steaming mugs of hot chocolate and warm fuzzy sweaters.
They grow up so fast I tell ya. It’s moments like this this that make the holiday season so exciting and magical . I am thankful for the story of Mr. Hankey, and I can’t wait to share it with Anna and Eli some day in the future. Until then, the faint calling of "Heigh-di-ho" will have to wait. Some day my children, some day.