This is the tale, of a little girl who met Santa.
My little girl. My baby girl, in fact.
She had actually ‘met’ him at the photo op during last year’s Christmas lead-up, when coming up to the big festive day I had popped her on his knee and stood back to grin at the stunned expression on her face as the camera went snap snap snap.
She was 4 months old then. She didn’t really know what was going on, let’s be honest.
Over a week ago we went to the same shopping centre, to see the same Santa. This year baby girl is grabbing at the Christmas tree and baubles we have at home, running into the presents underneath, and currently she will not, EVER go into the arms of someone she doesn’t see often, as unbelievably friendly as this girl is. Bar my Mum and MIL, it’s a no-go for her.
These thoughts were all going through my head as we stood in line to meet the man in red. I picked her up and told her to wave at Santa, telling her that he’s the guy that brings her presents. But presents, to a 16-month old? The thing she loves about presents is ripping the paper, that’s about the best present in the world for a 16-month old. She watched though, and listened. She looked at Santa, and pointed to the huge Christmas tree behind him. She gave me hope.
When it finally came our turn to go over and meet Santa, I was feeling really anxious. “Say ‘hi Santa! Wave to Santa!'” I said with as much excitement I could muster, trying to swallow my nerves.
We inched closer and Santa said hi to her. Now that we were within a metre of him, her eyes widened. She really stared at him, hard. And as I wondered, how the hell am I going to get her on his knee, she grabbed at me, turning her head towards me and clutching at my shoulders for dear life.
I said to Santa “I think she’s going to cry.”
And Santa said “well Mum the only way to do it is for you to get in the photo with her.”
As I went to sit beside him, baby girl started to wail. Like a real decent cry out.
Silence across the room. Time hung in the air as I plastered a smile on my face.
“Hey, baby girl, it’s ok,” I said, trying to soothe her, not daring to look up and see the pitying faces around me. I shifted her from arm to arm, finally positioning her so she was farthest away from Santa as possible, and amazingly, she calmed for a fairly decent photo.
We actually came up good.
As we walked off Santa gave baby girl an Elf hat with pointy ears on the side. As we were waiting in line to pay, I popped it on her head and she promptly ripped it off, and one of the pointy ears as well.
So that’s our second Christmas.