Okay, okay, I will admit it. When your son's period of defiance coincides with Christmas, it's just a little to easy to use Santa as the carrot and coal as the stick. While reading my son's book "It's Christmas, David!" my son picked up on the idea that bad children get "coal" in their stockings and good children get gifts. When the, "If you don't pick this up I will put it away for a week" turned to "2 weeks" and was still ineffective, I got on my phone and told Santa that he might want to be aware that my son was not listening. This perked him up.
He immediately picked up the toys and got on his phone to Santa, to give him an update and say that, "he did do what Mommy asked." This scenario has played over a couple of times. I haven't done the "Elf on the Shelf" because I didn't really want to get into the whole reporting to Santa thing (but honestly, it's probably that it would just be one more thing for me to keep up on).
This is the first year that my son has a real awareness of Santa and is asking us a lot of questions about our family "traditions" and the different things they do and their meaning. In years previous, the only Advent tradition he really noticed were the candles, (I think most kids are pyromaniacs). This year he has adapted his Charlie Brown book to a "Advent Book" and after my husband reads our Advent Prayers, my son will pick his book up and say, "Is today the 2nd or the 4th?" as he thumbs through for the right page. After he finds the page, he will "read" a few words, which sometimes are unintelligible and sometimes really funny. "If your parents tell you to listen, then you should listen...."
On the car ride into work today, my son was insisting he wanted a different beverage than the one we had packed (milk). My husband and I were trying to talk in code and apparently in reference to juice, my husband said, "we don't have any B. O. X's". My son caught on to this and said, "I want a B.O.X." I immediately became alarmed that my son was now able to spell and our code was broken. "Why do you want a B.O.X? Do you know what a B.O.X is?" "Something else to drink," was his response.