After watching the children until about 2pm today, I rousted my wife from the bedroom so she could give them a late lunch. While I was fiddling with my blogging templates and sort of puttering around until it was time to go to campus (I’m volunteering to serve dinner to the students during the big “Christmas on the Hill” dinner party), I heard an unusual amount of screaming and thumping upstairs. Then the screams turned to laughter — well, my son was laughing, and my wife was trying not to.
A few minutes later, my five-year-old daughter had stuffed a few toys in a plastic suitcase, and was standing at the front door in her pink coat and Hello Kitty boots, ready to run away.
I asked her where she wanted to go, suggesting that perhaps I could give her a ride.
Her eyes got wide. “You mean you want me to go?”
“Of course I don’t want you to go, but you won’t get very far on foot, so maybe I could drive you. Were you thinking the train station or the airport?”
While my daughter processed that, my wife explained what had happened. Both children were misbehaving during lunch, so much so that Mommy had to call Santa. In order to make sure the elves knew who had been naughty, my wife said she would spell their names over the phone. She spelled Carolyn’s name to howls of protest; then, before she got to Peter’s name, the phone started beeping to signal the line was dead.
Peter started dancing around the kitchen, saying that God saved him from punishment.
My daughter, whose sense of justice is well-developed enough to know that she and her brother were both being equally naughty, was offended.
I managed to coax her out of her coat and boots by telling her that Peter would write a letter to Santa explaining what happened and asking that he receive the same punishment as Carolyn. Perhaps if Carolyn also wrote a letter that showed how much she appreciated Peter’s selfless act, maybe Mommy and Daddy would be able to make it all work out.