As we were getting into the car after preschool this morning, Max said, "And I think there's one more thing I want to add to my wish list. Cecelia brought the Cootie Bug game to school and it's so fun. So I think I'll ask for it so I can play with it whenever I want."
Now, here's the thing about Christmas wish lists in this house: They would be added to and amended repeatedly, right up until the moment these children's eyes close on Christmas Eve if we didn't have a Wish List Close Date. And so, our good little elf takes those wish lists up to the North Pole and delivers them to Santa sometime during the second week of December. Santa needs time to make all those gifts, you know....and not every one of Santa's helpers has Amazon Prime two-day shipping.
"Well, buddy," I said as I put the car into drive and headed towards home, "I'm pretty sure Bear Ticklish already brought your wish list to Santa, but maybe you could save your money for Cootie Bugs and buy it for yourself."
Then a sniff.
A glance in my rearview mirror showed me the saddest face I've seen in a long time. Big pouty lips, huge tears in his eyes, and the threat of an imminent meltdown.
Now, here's the other thing about those Christmas wish lists in this house: Not all wishes are fulfilled, but some wishes that don't make it on to the Official Lists, have been known to magically come true on Christmas morning. The Cootie Bug game? That's like five bucks at Target, which I'm sure I'll swing by sometime next week anyway. Wish Granted! Christmas Magic FTW!
But, even knowing that I could make this magic happen, I couldn't just let him melt down on me on the way home from preschool. We still had to make it through lunch before Quiet Time and Molly was starting to whimper, assuming that if Max was upset, she probably should be, too.
So, we came up with a plan:
"Listen, even if your wish list is already up at the North Pole, Bear Ticklish is still here! Maybe...just maybe!...if you're extra sweet and ask him very nicely, Bear Ticklish can add one more thing to your wish list. But make sure it's something you're really sure about! You don't want to ask him for more than one extra thing or he might think you're acting greedy."
"Do you think he will?"
"Well, you never know. But it doesn't hurt to ask, right?"
"I guess," he sighed, wiping his tears away.
After we took off shoes and coats and hats and mittens and washed our hands, I started to get lunch ready. For about five full minutes, Max stood at the counter talking quietly to Bear Ticklish. I couldn't hear everything he said, but I watched as he used hand motions to help him explain what the game is and how it's played.
As he turned back toward me, I asked, "Feel better, bud?"
"Yup," he said, "And I think Bear Ticklish is really going to tell Santa. I think I saw him smile at me a little bigger which means he will."
You're the best, Bear Ticklish. And I'd better jot that one down on my Target list...