We love the Santa at one of the malls near our house. He is the Santa we visited last year and I wanted Garrett to see him again. He's really nice. Initially we sat both boys on Santa's lap. Little Buddy took one look at the jolly bearded man and decided he is a serial killer. His one goal in life is to dismember babies everywhere and feed their digits and limbs to his rabid reindeer. Suffice it to say, he was not impressed with Mr. Claus. He screamed. Santa bounced him, rocked him, winked at him. Nothing but shrieking that could wake Jack Frost in July. I picked him up while Garrett and Santa chatted.
Santa: What do you want for Christmas?
Garrett: A toy trash truck.
Santa: Alright. Anything else?
Garrett: A nummy.
Santa: Okay. Anything else?
Me: (To myself) What? Don't ask my three-year-old what else he wants!
Garrett: (stares, awestruck at Santa)
Santa: Can I bring you anything else?
Me: (again, to self) You're killing me Santa!
Garrett: (having been told that Santa brings ONE thing...and a nummy, er, candy cane...replies in the sweetest voice) Um. Could I maybe have a book?
Me: (to self) Okay. Let's be done now, Santa. We're poor!
Santa: That's a good idea, anything else?
Me: (to self) Shut it, Santa!
Garrett: (pause. And then, in the same adorably sweet voice.) No, thank you.
Santa: So just the truck and the book. (Garrett nods) What about your brother?
Garrett: He would like a new toy. (In the car Garrett was insistent that Matthew wanted a little spider for Christmas. Thankfully we convinced him not to ask Santa for that.)
At this point I decided to try putting Matthew back in his lap because, you know, I didn't want Santa prompting Garrett to ask for a speed boat or recreational vehicle on his brother's behalf. I set Matthew down and the tears were instant. Santa suggested, since they weren't very busy, that we take him away for ten minutes, calm him down, and try again.
The candy cane was my idea. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. If You Give a Moose a Muffin. If You Give a Nine-Month-Old a Candy Cane. I know it wasn't my finest moment but I wanted a picture of my sons with St. Nick. To say that Matthew loved a few licks on that candy cane would be the understatement of his life. But it didn't matter. "Garrett, just sit on Santa's lap and smile. Don't stop smiling. Maybe we can get your brother to smile for a second." I plopped Matthew down and he instantly broke into one of those giant, no air, wait for it, screams to end all screams. I snatched him up and told Garrett we'd just pay for a picture of him and Santa. Little Buddy didn't need to torture Santa anymore and vice versa.
So because we paid for the picture of The Rock Star, who seriously loves himself some Mall Santa, I asked if we could snap a picture with our camera of the baby, screaming, on Santa's lap. For the scrapbook. Or just to prove he'd been there. Or proof of what terrible, awful, no good, very bad parents we really are. Thankfully, they agreed. Poor Santa.
Poor Matthew. That right there was a silent, shaking cry. I think I had him back in my arms before he ever actually made noise. And for the rest of the day, he wouldn't let me get more than an inch away from him.
Then we had lunch together and went in search of the perfect tree. The Rock Star was bouncing off the walls with excitement. He kept gravitating toward these three feet trees with giant holes. We actually considered getting a teeny tree and putting it on a table because he was so dead set on it.
When we actually picked out our tree, which is about six feet tall, he flipped his lid when they trimmed the bottom. "WHY ARE THEY MAKING IS SHORTER?" I explained to him that it was still three feet taller than all the trees he was looking at.
Daddy strung the lights while Matthew napped and Garrett looked at all the ornaments. He fell in love with anything that was a penguin and anything my late grandma had made. Then we let The Rock Star put the angel on the top of the tree--after we convinced him that we only had an angel and we are very sorry that we don't have a star since, according to him, the only thing in the whole world fit to sit on top of a tree is a star.