Today was take-your-picture-with-Santa day at Selah and Kate’s school. I talked it up some that morning – we’re going to see Santa! – but neither one of them seemed super excited about the whole thing. As a matter of fact, Kate threw a fit about wearing a matching red dress with Selah (she wanted to stay in her pajamas) and the only way she would change was if I let her wear her Elsa hat WITH the red dress.
That was a battle I was not willing to fight.
So we went to school in our red dresses, one Christmas headband, and one Elsa hat. I will count that as a win.
I figured Kate was not going to just jump in Santa’s lap, but I had hoped that she would at least get near him.
Not so much.
As soon as I got a little bit close to Santa, the death grip started. And then the crying. Which quickly stopped as soon as I walked away from him. Selah ran right for him, gave him a big hug, and posed perfectly for her shot.
Alright, Kate-Kate, I said. You ready to take your picture with Santa?
Look at Selah, I said. She took her picture with Santa.
What about if you sit on this little horsey right next to Santa? I said as I moved the rocking horse just close enough to Santa to be in the same screen with him.
No! More death grip. I couldn’t even get her legs off of me.
I gave up. I know when I’m beat. It wasn’t worth it.
This, of course, reminded me of my second Santa experience with Macy. The first one went so well –
Well, except for the super awkward Santa. But Macy looked pretty cute.
Anyway, since the first Santa picture went well, I thought we’d try again the next year at Christmas. This should be parenting rule number 135 – just because something has worked in the past does not mean it will work again.
But I was a newbie and didn’t know. We got in line for Santa with a now 18 month old Macy and I could feel the death grip start. Uh-oh, I remember thinking. I sent my mom or Jeanette over to Great American cookie company to get her a cookie thinking it would help.
It did not.
So that year, after a lot of crying and a lot of prodding, we got Macy to take her picture on my knee next to Santa where they photoshopped it to look like she was actually near him.
In the non-digital image, you can see the red face. Fortunately, this is hidden well in the digital one.
So fast-forwarding to Selah, I knew that I had one shot if I wanted a picture with Santa. You gotta get it in before the kid really even knows what’s going on. I even had an elf give me an amazing tip that year – keep the kid’s back facing Santa and just set them down gently in his lap, talking the whole way through it. With any luck, they won’t even notice what’s going on and you’ll get a decent smile at the camera.
And we did just that with one-year-old Selah.
And then there was baby Kate. You can’t do something with the first two kiddos and not do it for the third, so Jeanette and I made the trip to the mall to get a picture of Kate-Kate with Santa. Following the same advice from the elf, this one also turned out pretty well.
Here’s nine month old Kate –
I even managed to get Kate in the same dress that Macy wore. So fun.
But I knew at that point we were probably done with Santa. Even as a four/five/six year old, Macy was a little skittish of Santa and had NO interest in ever taking another picture with him.
Selah continued to surprise me and had no problem sitting with him each year he came to her school. Here she is as an almost three year old –
And then as an almost four year old –
Kate, on the other hand, wasn’t going for it.
I did not want this picture again.
So this year, after the multiple death grips, I said to Selah – ok, sweetheart, let’s go.
And then something magical happened. Santa handed Selah a candy cane.
Kate looked up at me. Mommy, I want a candy cane.
Ok, I said. You have to take your picture with Santa first.
Ok, she said.
And she walked right over to him – not too close, but just close enough – and took her picture with her sister and Santa.
It was a Christmas miracle.
Please notice she is holding her prize.
So here’s our latest Santa picture – my two younger daughters, Selah and mini-Elsa.
Merry Christmas. 🙂