The first thing I need to say is that I TOTALLY believe in teasing kids. It is one of the dominant features of our parenting style. I mean, to the point that sometimes even I think we're going a little overboard.
We constantly tell our kids things that are not true with perfectly straight faces. It's entirely possible that I have answered their inquiries as to why they shouldn't do something with a response very much like the Polish warnings to their children, that a monster will grab them if they do. I dish out punishments like "If you do it again you will have to go up and down the stairs carrying a stack of heavy books all night long instead of sleeping."
But I don't think those things are wrong.
I love saying dumb stuff to my kids, and spend a good deal of time doing it. It really is a very important part of who I am and our relationship with each other. When my kids make an innocent mistake I give them a disappointed look and a shake of the head and tell them they are "a bad, bad boy/girl." Is that funny? Most likely not, but they totally get it. They know I'm kidding, and that I mean, "Don't worry, it was just an accident!"
So why do I dislike it when Poles and especially Greg's mother say(s) these very same kind of things? Because they/she mean(s) for the kids to believe them. There is no twinkle in her/their eye. And they/she are/is not sarcastic by nature/naturally. (this paragraph comprises the humor/funny part/section of the post/entry)
People who know me know that I generally say exactly the opposite of what I mean. It's kind of dumb, but it's how I am. I've known for a while that I'm sarcastic, but I didn't really know what it meant until we were visiting my sister two years ago and she said to me (about Greg after giggling at nearly everything he says--because he's hilarious)), "He never says what he means, does he?" I was dumbstruck. He always says just exactly what he means and is very open. It took a while for me to get that she means that he's sarcastic. And that that means that you say what you don't mean as if it's what you do mean.
And that's how we are. And we're like that with our kids. And these days our kids are that way, too.
So I suppose you could say I have a double standard. I can do it, but they can't. But I'm pretty sure most of you would know what I meant if you heard it (and understood Polish) -- except for David (not my David, a friend who reads my blog) who appreciates and uses the Polish technique.
To go back to that quote in my sidebar that I love, it all comes down to this (sort of and also kind of not) in reference to my sarcastic nature:
There's only one thing that I know how to do well,
And I've often been told that you only can do
What you know how to do well,
And that's be you! Be what you're like! Be like yourself!
So I do! And maybe what I need to do is just let those who are good at tricking their kids into believing things go ahead and be what they're like, too! Live and let live, maybe.
And don't forget that I completely understand doing the Santa thing!! The only thing that I think a very small number of people people should think harder about is the fascination with the idea that teaching kids to believe in Santa will help them to believe in the Savior in the future, in the sense of having faith. I think that is a very wrong comparison, as we don't want our kids to expect to wake up some day to find that Christ was just neat idea. I do agree with many other comparisons of Christ and Santa, though. So DON'T WORRY! :0)