Today was the day I finally decided to do it. We saw Santa. It was all I expected and more. There was a class of preschool children in line in front of us. We waited for a little over an hour. (If you are saying, “I would never stand in a line that long,” well, you don’t understand the persuasive techniques of a determined child.) We waited and waited. To pass the time, each of my children engaged in their own little activities. Bubba, 3 years old, made snowballs out of the fake snow. He was unaware of the stink eye Santa was giving him. I sweetly asked Bubba to stop being a heathen, and he surprised me with a quick, “Yes mam.” He then quietly returned to the line where I could feel him against my leg. I was thinking how wonderfully this mall trip was going and congratulating myself for kindly redirecting my child. What a progressive disciplinarian I had become. I had no idea that my little man had snuck in his plastic Swiss Army knife. The baby began crying which gave Bubba the opportunity to do a little ‘work’. He slipped out his knife and began ‘fixing’ the motorized wheelchair behind us. He was unaware of the stink eye the poor lady in the wheelchair was giving him. (I say poor lady not because of the wheelchair, but because she was stuck in line behind us.)
Sister, 4 years old, had apparently been appointed line mother. She stared at the little boy in the preschool class who got in trouble. She scolded Bubba fifty million times. For an hour and a half, the whole line had to listen to her sweet but loud voice drag out the following phrases: “Bubba, Santa is watching. You won’t get any presents.” Has she not heard me threaten him with this over and over? It doesn’t work Sister. Of course, her true mothering spirit shines its brightest with baby boy. She just loved and loved and loved and loved and loved (I am trying to paint a picture with my words) and loved and loved and loved…ok, you get it. For almost 2 hours, he recieved a massive amount of unwanted hugs and kisses.
Baby boy may have eaten a few inedible objects including the envelope the nice elf lady had to scan. When I handed her the paper, she crinkled up her nose and said, “Yuck.” (Ok, come on elf lady, it’s just a little damp.) Men, women, and children alike stared at baby boy as he happily gnawed on his favorite toys; a plastic saw and measuring spoons.
I will admit, by this time I didn’t care what the picture looked like. I just wanted to see Santa and get away from the North Pole as quickly as possible. I was sweating as though I had run a marathon. The last of the preschool children began to walk away from Santa when the teacher said, “Ok, let’s all go back for our group picture.” (I think I let out an audible cry.) About 20 four year olds piled onto poor Santa’s lap. The teachers gathered around him. The elf ladies shook their little attention getters and said, “Say Cheese!” The cute little kids all smiled. The lady pushed the camera button and NOTHING happened. Nothing! The camera would not work. The little elves scrambled around. The giant line let out a collective gasp. The elf in charge pulled out a bright orange box labeled, Repair Kit. She worked and worked while all those kids squirmed and flounced all over the elderly Santa. Bubba offered his Swiss Army knife, the elf wasn’t amused. She turned around and made an announcement that she was calling tech support. I sat down. The next 20 minutes were a blur. (It must have been the sweat dripping down my forehead and into my eyes.) She finally got the camera working and took the group picture.
It was our turn at last. My children approached Santa hesitantly.
Santa smiled at Sister, “And what would you like for Christmas?”
Sister, “I want a lalaloopsy diaper surprise.”
Santa, “Oh, what is that?”
Me, “Just a doll.”
Sister, “No, she is a special baby that poops charms.”
Me… Nervous laughter.
Santa turns to Bubba, “Well hello young man. What would you like?”
Bubba, “I want a helicopter and a hooker.”
Bubba louder thinking Santa couldn’t hear, “A helicopter and a HOOKER.”
Me, “Oh my gosh Santa, I am so embarrassed. He means a hook that comes down from the helicopter and picks up things. You know, Santa, like the coast guard.” More nervous laughter.
Santa, “Ummmm, ok.”
The elf lady put Bubba and Sister in place for the picture. I put baby boy in Santa’s lap. Baby boy grabbed Santa’s beard and smiled. I moved his hand. He grabbed it again. I moved his hand and immediately started singing and making silly hand jestures while I backed away. (I looked like one of the Wiggles.) The elf ladies made their sounds and said, “Say cheese.” The kids all smiled! The picture was adorable!
I know one day my children will be grown and I will look at that picture and remember this innocent moment in time when a hooker was a life saving device, sister only wanted to be a mama to a baby who poops prizes, and baby boy simply needed a dance from mama to smile!