We were having one of those mornings.
Okay, we were all fine, but Keaton was having one of those mornings.
He woke up early and announced, "I am not eating at home this morning. You will stop and get me breakfast." You know I LOVED that.
Then he started with "I'm not feeling well. Mommy! I'm not feeeeeeliiiing welllllll. I'm siiiiiiick. I want to stay home." I told him he was welcome to stay home all by himself, but there was no one to stay with him because we all had things to do.
Things progressed as expected with significant crying, screaming, demanding, etc. As I picked him to take him in our room to get him dressed, he began squirming and kicking. So I held him out away from me, my hands under his armpits, his skinny little body flopping around in a full-on temper tantrum.
I've learned that Keaton reacts if I react, so I pretended it wasn't happening until the time came that I couldn't get his pants on his squirming little legs. In desperation and frustration, I blurted out, "SANTA IS WATCHING YOU!"
And there was silence. Immediate silence. Surprised, he finally asked, "What did you say?"
Me: I said Santa is watching to see if you're a good boy or a bad boy.
Keaton: He's watching me right now?
Me: Yes. He's always watching you.
Now this is where Bad Santa comes in. I had this evil moment-slash-moment of genius when I realized the Wild Thing was paying attention. I realized it and I used it. I used it good.
Me: You know what happens to bad little boys?
Keaton (not sure he wants to know): What?
Me (in my super-scary voice): They get rocks in their stockings. (This was followed by Vincent Price-style evil laughter in my head, and I am only a little ashamed.)
Me: Yes, rocks. Only the good boys and girls get toys, and Santa is always watching so he can put you on his good list or his bad list to see if you get toys or ROCKS.
We finished getting him dressed in total, compliant silence, and I felt I had entered a new world. I realized this is it. This is THE YEAR that I can use this. It's never worked before, and it will never work again, but THIS YEAR I will use it until bedtime Christmas Eve. I wondered if it would be possible for Santa to mail a behavior report card to Keaton just to let him know that the Big Guy is keeping tabs. I pictured myself slipping a ten to the mall Santa and whispering in his ear whatever boyish trouble Keaton had gotten in that day so he could have a little heart to heart with the kid. This is big, I thought, and I'm a freaking genius for figuring it out.
After a reasonably quiet breakfast at home (turkey bacon and juice, the breakfast of champions), Keaton was climbing the ladder that's still in the living room along with the half-displayed Christmas decorations and their boxes. "Mommy?" he asked in a sweet voice, "is Santa outside the window right now?"
Sensing his timidity, I responded kindly, "No, baby. He's not outside."
Keaton shrugged his disbelief and turned his freaked out little face to the window.
And that's how I made Santa a creeper. Will that get me Mother of the Year?