The Last Therapy Session

He’s been seeing her because of an uncontrollable rage that began in kindergarten when he hit a friend with a toy truck in the sandbox. The little girl needed stitches. In first grade, his teacher would bring him down to the basement to kick a beanbag chair. By third grade, therapy had helped him transfer his anger from his fists and his feet to his words… and I received a number of reports of him screaming in a wild rage at his teachers for not understanding him, siding with his classmates, not listening.

He morphed from the class Buddha one day to a whirlwind of anger and self-doubt the next.

But he’s a fourth grader now. Importantly, he has a couple of best friends who he seems to have figured out will stick by him when things get rough. The rage is thawing.

So, I wasn’t surprised when his therapist said at the end of yesterday’s session that he doesn’t need to see her anymore. “Let’s move to an as-needed basis.”

The funny thing was that she didn’t “re-neg” when he told her about Christmas Eve – and an unique experience he’s been sharing boldly for almost a month now.

“I saw Santa!”

She didn’t understand at first. “At the mall? Downtown?”

“The real one. I woke up in the middle of the night and forgot it was Christmas, and I thought I heard something downstairs. So, I went down,” his eyes sparkled and his smile lit up like a Christmas tree., “and there he was!”

She grinned back, trying not to look at me. “Wowwwww! Did you say anything?”

“Nope, I didn’t want to get in trouble. So, I tiptoed back upstairs.”

“He didn’t see you?”

“I am very good at sneaking around.” So proud.

“I have never heard of anyone actually getting to see him. You are the luckiest kid in the world,” then with a vigorous nod from him, she transitioned, “So, did you get anything good?”

He listed his presents. A small drone. A t-shirt from his favorite Youtube channel. A game called Timeline. But when she asked which one was his favorite…

“Seeing Santa! That’s the best gift anyone could ask for!”

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Imperfect Treats for Santa

Our 10-year-old wrote a note to Santa last night.

Dear Santa, here are some treats for you and your reindeer. Merry Christmas!

We only had a few snowman-shaped half-cookies left, and I was adding the obligatory carrots to the platter for Rudolph and crew, when he put his hand on my arm to stop me. “Wait!” from such a serious face, “You need to wash them first!”

Then when no one was looking, he added to the note to address the broken cookies.

Sorry the heads got bitten off.

He’s right. Santa deserves better than half-eaten cookies and unwashed carrots. We’ll do better next year.

A Rooftop Christmas Crash

On Christmas Eve, just before the kids went down for their long winter nap and, according to NORAD, Rudolph’s red nose was leading Santa north from South America, our 12 year old lost a tooth.

Already excited, the lost tooth and resulting bloody grin infused the boys with even more energy. It took some time to settle down as Mom and Dad worried that Santa – and now the Tooth Fairy – would fall asleep before the kids did.

Then I heard someone gasp, “What if Santa and the Tooth Fairy crash into each other at our house?”

And all I could think was….

Another 15 minutes of adrenaline as young brains ponder the possibility. Another 15 minutes before Santa and the Tooth Fairy can sleep.

Santa’s Note

It seems you have reached that age when you start trying to figure me out. You stay up later and wake up earlier – all in the hopes of seeing your gifts before Mom and Dad. Or catching a glimpse of my red coat. It’s a fun time for me. Your parents and I have to work together – not like when you were little and wouldn’t dare sneak downstairs in the dark.

Despite a few bumps in the road and a red card or two, you have all been great this year. I am as proud as your parents of how well you are doing at school and what nice friends you are. Here are my instructions for you in 2015:

Have fun and explore. Take risks. Sing a solo. Make new friends. Try new things.

Treat your knowledge as a gift that you share with your classmates. You will enjoy school much more when you figure this out.

Practice more.

Celebrate your talents by challenging yourselves to go faster, higher, smarter than you did yesterday. Work toward your goals without discouragement. It is the “trying” that will make you great even if it leads you down unplanned paths to unexpected victories.

Be patient with your brothers. Be kind. Laugh at your Dad’s jokes. Hug your Mom. Put away your laundry…. and shower, wear underwear, and brush your teeth every day.

Until next year, my fine fellows…

Santa, the Pope and the Birds and the Bees

My six year old niece asked my sister why the Virgin Mary is a saint. As is often the case, talk of Mary led to the question of how babies normally get in the mommy’s tummy. My sister explained in six year old terms – the dad plants a seed in the mommy.

Perfect. Conversation done. Six year old seemingly content.

But my niece was still noodling over the facts, and with the last crumb of Thanksgiving pie just eaten, she couldn’t help but think of Santa.

“What about Santa? Since he’s magic, is he a saint too?”

“Yes,” replied my sister, thinking she was still on safe ground, “St. Nicholas!”

Hmmm.

“But did the Pope guy say he was a saint?” Or was he “born” with no seed?

Santa’s Youngest Son

I mailed my sons’ Christmas wish lists to Santa this afternoon. So tonight, I asked my kids what they wanted from me.

“If it’s on your Santa list, I shouldn’t get it just in case,” I said.

They all nodded in serious agreement.

My third grader, who may have the longest list on the planet, then jumped up and down yelling out everything he could think of that had not been mentioned in his letter to Santa.

My fourth grader said, “but it’s Santa’s youngest son who reads the letters. Not Santa.”

Not sure how that relates to my shopping next week, but….

And my five year old, who only wrote to Santa about two Skylander figures, said, “I don’t need anything else.”

The funny thing is, the one with the embarrassingly long list is the hardest to shop for. Otherwise, there would be nearly 50-60 Skylander action figures under our tree on Christmas morning… just for him. And Santa’s youngest son would be out of a job.