Back when my all grown up with children of his own son was ‘wee little,’ as the country folk around here say, he thought we were singing about ‘Harry’ angels. Another child assumed the angel’s name was Harold. Perfectly understandable. The lyrics are rather unfathomable to children. Even for some adults. I’ve also heard of a child who mistook ‘sleep in heavenly peace’ for ‘sleep in heavenly peas,’ which makes sense with the emphasis on eating your vegetables.
Last Christmas, my then three-yr-old grandson Colin freaked out and was hiding his toys because he was afraid Santa Claus snuck into your house on Christmas Eve and took all of your stuff. We think this misapprehension came about as a result of watching the cartoon version of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’ Colin also didn’t like the idea of some strange dude who ‘sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake’ watching him. Like Santa was a creepy stalker. His weary parents in their efforts to reassure him (and get any sleep) said they would post a note on the mailbox advising Santa to leave the goods in the driveway. Colin accepted this but was still rather leery.
He was also really put out when told that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and insisted ‘that’s not fair!’ When asked why, he said because Jesus gets the best birthday of all. I’ve never heard this take before. But Colin is the same kid who tried to boost his one-yr-old baby sister up onto the picnic table on their deck with the ultimate aim of giving her an even higher boost onto the roof of the house so she could retrieve the action figure toy he’d flung up there. After all, the baby couldn’t boost him up there, and his mother had warned him if he threw the toy on the roof, it was gone. So he schemed a way but was intercepted. Drats, foiled again.
Recently Colin was overhead singing Away in the Manger to himself with an alteration. Instead of ‘The little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay’ he subbed in ‘batman asleep in the hay.’ He loves action heroes, but this version may come as a surprise during the Children’s Christmas Program next week at church.
Also, at the top of his Christmas list is a ‘real Spiderman’ action figure who shoots out ‘real webs.’ None of that fake silly string stuff like last year. And his little four-yr-old cousin, my granddaughter Emma, asked me some time ago for a ‘real’ baby dinosaur. I hate to squash dreams, but pointed out the possible difficulty I foresaw in locating one. In a dramatic gesture, she threw her hands up and said I had all the way ’til Christmas to find one–that she wasn’t expecting it right away.
Well, Christmas is almost upon us and I’m still short one newly hatched dinosaur and a Spiderman who shoots out real webs. I suspect this request of Colin’s stems from his desire to swing from them and ‘fwy’ as he pronounces it. An impossibility for small boys that we’ve failed to persuade him of. He suggested his mother make him some wings so he could soar off the deck. I think Santa needs to bring him a large net.
If you know of any real baby dinosaurs, let me know. I haven’t given up.