It’s that time of year. When you can no longer use Santa’s whimsical existence, and the idea that he’s always watching, as a disciplinary measure to ensure good behavior. When parents all over the world replace “Do you want to end up on the naughty list?” with the much less powerful “Because I said so.” While I may not ever understand why Santa Claus plays a more influential role in parenting than I sometimes do, I have come to accept it. Which is why I was proactive in securing his authoritarian role for the rest of the year, especially when it comes to the Captain America suit that he (and Amazon) bestowed upon him Christmas morning.
Rinn’s wild imagination is a double-edged sword. A double-edged sword that he wields while running around the house clad in a leather jacket and cowboy hat while pretending he is a crazed dinosaur hunter who after he slays Tui, the villainous velociraptor, will embark on a mountain climbing expedition, scaling Mount Everest in a single afternoon. I find it both wonderful and terrifying. Wonderful since his creativity is enviable and he has never once complained of boredom but terrifying because on occasion it gets a little out of hand. Like the times where a round container lid doubling as a shield whizzes past my head as he somersaults across the couch like a tiny version of Steve Rogers. I can’t be the only parent that is sometimes scared of their own child, especially when during Elf of the Shelf season when he constantly asks “Do you ever feel like you’re being watched?”
Container lids would no longer suffice however after he spotted a Captain America costume, complete with mask and shield, during a Target outing sometime around Halloween. His heart was already set on being Elvis Presley at that point but his desire to own a real shield and terrorize the house in an authentic Captain America outfit was unparalleled. I encouraged him to put it on his Christmas list and we were able to leave Target that day with only minimal tears.
Fast forward two months or so when I found myself hesitantly wrapping his Captain America costume as I shuddered at the imminent chaos we would face on Christmas morning. Even Tui stared at me in dismay knowing that he would undoubtedly be commissioned to play the villain to Rinn’s hero and might not have a restful afternoon until Rinn is a teenager.
I had to protect us so I elected myself the unofficial Nick Fury of my tiny army and engineered a plan to control my troops. You have to wonder where Rinn gets his imagination from, really.
I drafted the following letter from Santa, attached it to the box and said a prayer:
In this box you’ll find a Captain America suit.
When Spiderman got his suit, his grandfather told him that with this suit comes great power but also great responsibility. Captain America’s suit is no different because he is a hero. A hero is someone who is brave, courageous and noble.
To be brave means you have the strength to face danger.
To be courageous means you have the ability to do something that frightens you.
And most importantly, to be noble means you are virtuous and good.
While wearing this suit it’s important that you behave as a hero would and that includes being good. If you behave aggressively or violent in this suit I have given your Mom, Papa and Lolo permission to take it away from you until you can learn to be noble while wearing it.
Be good Rinn! Be a hero!
It’s only been a few days but I am happy to report that the letter is working. If Rinn suddenly challenges Tui to a duel I simply remind him that Santa insist he be a good hero. If I’m barraged by flying objects and shouts of “ATTACK!” as I walk into a room I duck for cover of course but then quickly reiterate that Santa insist I take his Captain America suit away if he behaves violently. If you’re wondering “Does this woman have no shame? Letting Santa be the bad guy, why I never.” The answer is no, I have no shame or qualms in claiming that I’m simply doing Santa’s bidding and letting him take the fall for spoiling playtime. Must I remind you that parenting is hard? And for those of you praising my genius, we should be friends.
And yes, I realize now that it was Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben that said those infamous words in the film, not his grandfather, and in reality those words had little to do with his Spiderman suit but was more of a lecture surrounding the art of a becoming a man but this letter was written after two glasses of wine. It could’ve been worse.