Last Christmas we were on lockdown for germs trying to get through our first RSV season and Xander’s health was WAY more important than getting him to see santa and sit on his lap for a photo (just think how many hundreds of kids have sat on his lap already and who knows how often he washes that suit!). I even had a friend at work offer to come to our house in his santa outfit that he only wears to his family’s gatherings to get that first Santa photo but I declined.
This year on the otherhand is much different! Xander has been healthy (knock on wood) and we haven’t been restricting his access to the world beyond our front door. It is definitely freeing not to have to constantly worry about germs. We still wash hands often and sanatize but nowhere near as much as last year. So off to see Santa we go!
We tried this past Thursday after work but the line was way too long so we headed back home. We strategized and thought that Sunday morning would probably be our best bet to not have to wait in line for hours and hours. We checked on the time and Santa didn’t appear until 11am on Sunday.
Somehow I had 10am stuck in my head and wanted to get in line by 9:30. As we were driving to the mall I remembered that on Sunday Santa didn’t arrive until 11. We were almost 2 hours early! I had one Christmas present to finish up so we went to a few stores for that, taking up only about 30 minutes. So we went for some Caribou; hot chocolate for Cory and mint mocha for myself. We knew of a sitting area near the Santa area and decided to hang out there. Well Xander wasn’t having that and one of us sat while the other one ran after the little guy with tons of energy. It was getting close to 10am and we were keeping an eye on the entrance to see Santa and a line was starting to form. I made eye contact with Cory and herded Xander in that direction. We ended up being 7th in line at just after 10am.
Once we had position in line Cory took Xander to look for water to fill up the Camelbak and I stood in line. There was a cute almost 2 year old teeny girl in front of us (only weighing one pound more than Xander!) and a family with a maybe 3 year old girl and one year old boy behind us. After about 45 minutes they let the line go in closer to where Santa was going to be and Cory and Xander joined me in line. After so much running Xander seemed content to go in the carrier with mom for a bit. Finally Santa arrived!
The little girl in front of us was pretty excited and waved and yelled “Hi” to Santa as the line moved closer. Xander was observing and taking it all in in typical Xander fashion. I had been coaching him on saying “Hi Santa” this morning since yesterday he had been saying “Hi kitty” to a new kitty we met. When asked if he wanted to go meet Santa and sit on his lap for a photo he nodded his head yes. Finally the little girl ahead of us had her turn and she ended up clinging to her mom and then mom handed her to Santa and ran behind the camera and it was one of those adorable crying toddler on Santa’s lap pictures. This made me nervous about how Xander would react once he was close to this exciting stranger.
It was our turn! I could see from the side of his face that Xander was smiling at Santa. He went to him easily and I backed away for them to take the picture. That is when I could see his disposition change to unsure of this man who was holding him while mom and dad were 10 feet away. The smiles were gone. I tried doing a few things that usually make him smile and got a timid half smile by pretending to sneeze!
I was then off to rescue him from this stranger’s lap. He was so brave! He didn’t cry even though he looked like he was about to. Santa asked how old he was and said that he did really well for a 20 month old and was impressed. He also said Xander had the perfect look on his face when I brought him over, that joy and excitement that Santa brings to a small child. We picked out the closest to a smiling picture out of the 3 they took and waited for our prints. As we were waiting the father of the two small children in line behind us came up and said “He gets the cutest kid award!” Which of course makes my heart swell with pride that a random stranger thinks my son is adorable too, even with his own kids taking their turn on Santa’s lap.
So many emotions in just a few short minutes. I am so proud of Xander, he is so strong and it is such a pleasure to watch him get excited about things this Christmas. Now lets hope he doesn’t get sick and here’s the picture!