My Grandkids Are Suddenly On The ‘Naughty’ List!


Forget everything I told you last week about my five-year-old grandson Skippy making it onto Santa’s “nice” list. He’s off it. In one fell swoop, Skippy took a year’s worth of good behavior and threw it away. So did his three-year-old sister, Tess.

Here’s what happened:

My daughter Jen bought a new house, a house located behind the house she’s in now. The goal is to install a greenhouse in the yard, thus allowing her to expand her micro-green business, and to rent out the house itself. However, while the house is being spruced up, she’s using it as a guest house for holiday visitors.

Last week, it was her in-laws. And when these “other” grandparents returned home, they hid a huge pile of presents in a bedroom of the house, many clearly marked “To Skippy” or “To Tess.” Eventually, the presents were to make their way over to the main house.

But people are busy. Not everything gets done in a timely manner. And yesterday, because there was work to do at the new place, the family headed over there.

Things started out well — the kids watched TV while their parents worked in the garage — but kids get bored. They began chasing each other and, inevitably, stumbled upon the hidden trove of gifts.

The children skidded to a halt. They looked at each other with joy and amazement. They saw the tags — Skippy has been reading for some time now and Tess is able to identify her own name — and had a decision to make. Skippy heroically fought an internal battle with his conscience, but Tess dove right in, giddily tearing the paper from one of her boxes.

Skippy was aghast. “Tess!”

“But it’s for me! Here, open one of yours!”

It was the Garden of Eden all over again, and the temptation was simply too much to bear. Skippy opened his gifts, too.

Excited, elated and children being children, they then happily danced into the garage to show off their new watches and pajamas. Here follows the series of texts I got from my daughter:

Jen: “Both kids have to write ‘sorry’ letters to Santa because they opened Christmas presents today when no one was looking. Tess is not remorseful in the least. Skippy is about to die from fear.”

Me: “But the presents weren’t from Santa.”

Jen: “But he is always watching. The letters are a last-ditch effort to stay off the naughty list.”

Me: “Awww. Poor little guys.”

Jen: “Yeah. They felt so awful about it that, when we got home, they ran off to their room with six bottles of nail polish and now one set of new jammies is pink on the front. I smelled the polish — too late — and ran in there to find Skippy sitting in front of a fan, trying to dry the polish.”

Me: “What did he say?”

Jen: “He told me he wanted some ‘alone time.’ He did not get any.”

I guess remorsefulness and fear are fleeting for children. I just hope Santa realizes that.