Trust me, we understand the real meaning of Christmas. We are certainly teaching our son about Jesus, the manger, and why he came. Nevertheless, we do enjoy the festive pageantry that marks this holiday. Part of this fun includes annual trips to see a shopping mall Santa.
When Garrett was four and a half months old, my mom and dad took him to see Santa. Troy and I were running a Children's Christmas Play Dress Rehearsal. He was clad in Christmas colors complete with little green booties. Though he didn't cry, he promptly puked green baby food all over the crisp white cuff of Santa's sleeve. The picture is adorable, you can even spy the smeared peas on Santa's sleeve...if you look close enough.
Last year, my mom, aunt, and cousin took him to visit Santa on the day that Troy, my dad, and myself drove the moving van from San Diego to Salt Lake. My mom flew out a day later with Garrett. We don't have a Santa picture. The kid refused to sit on the scary man's lap. The helpful elf suggested that my mom sit on Santa's lap with my son so that they could get a picture. My mom decided that I didn't need a picture of her on Santa's lap with my ballistic child.
My mom is visiting for the week and we took Garrett to visit Santa today. I thought it would be a repeat of last year. It usually takes Garrett a few minutes to warm up to regular people. I was certain he wouldn't get within ten feet of the lap of a jolly, bearded, bowl full of jelly man. As we stood in line, we prepped him. I explained the procedure. I informed him of exactly what would happen. I told him that he would sit on Santa's lap and, in turn, Santa would give him a treat. Garrett really likes treats. We coached him on the fact that he could tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas.
Me: Okay buddy. You're going to sit on Santa's lap and then you'll get a treat. Okay?
Me: What are you going to ask Santa to bring you?
Garrett: A green hat.
It didn't matter how we prompted him to come up with something else. It didn't matter how I asked it. He was convinced. Sure. Decided. He wanted a green hat from Santa.
Me: Garrett, Santa will bring you a toy if you want.
Me: What kind of toy might you want?
Garrett: A green hat.
Well, in any case, when it was our turn I braced myself for the worst. I headed over to Santa with Garrett in my arms. I sat him down and Santa said, "Well hey there Garrett. My you've grown since last year." And then...well...I'll let the picture speak for itself...
That kid loves himself some Santa. They whispered words with each other. Perhaps Garrett mumbled something about his green hat, I don't know. What I know is that Santa gave him not one but two candy canes and a book. When it was time to leave, Garrett went back and hugged him. Then he tried to climb back up onto his lap. Santa, who was in a very good mood, said something about how he would love to hold him all day long but he needed to see the other children. So then Garrett said, "Die die, Santa. Tink to." Which does not mean that he wanted Santa to die but that he was saying, "Bye bye, Santa. Thank you."
It was precious.
And...um...then I promptly went shopping for a silly green hat.