This morning, Eva told me she wanted to see "San Ta Clots". She met him at the Harley shop downtown her first Christmas, when she was 10 months old. She was mildly wary of him but let me hold her in the picture. Last year, her fourth Christmas, we went to the mall and watched Santa talk to kids from a distance of about 15 feet. She was cool with that and when I asked her if she wanted to talk to Santa, too she politely said "No, thank you."
This morning I told her: Sure! Santa is at the mall. We can go see him after nap. So all day was spent talking about going to see Santa. We talked about how he was a nice, happy man, full of love and kindness. We talked about his long white beard, his hat, his red suit. We talked about how Santa brings special presents and that Eva could tell him what she wanted for Christmas. She practiced conversations all day ("Hi Santa. How are you?" "I'm fine, Eva." "Merry Christmas, Santa." "Thank you. Bye-bye. Ho, ho, ho.") She was psyched.
Waiting for our turn to see Santa!
Having second thoughts...
She chattered nervously as we walked through the mall. She heard jingle bells and wanted to run toward the towering Santa display but held fast to my hand. We waited in a short line and watched the girl in front of us bravely sit atop Santa's knee and talk and (sorta) smile for a picture and get a little coloring book. When Santa's lap was empty, he waved a cheery hello to Eva. She waved back but then her feet were cemented to the floor. I took her by the hand, then carried her to greet Santa. I sat on the arm of his chair (noting that it was wide, cushy and sturdy enough for repeated grown up bums to rest on it) and Eva sat on my lap. He was a very friendly and gentle Santa with a real beard and twinkling blue eyes.
What did she tell him she wanted for Christmas? A new book. And peacock feathers. Santa said, "Well, uh, peacock feathers might be a little hard to come by, but I'll put it on my list and see what I can do."
Jerry snapped a few pictures of the three of us. Eva said "Thank you, Santa!" and we were on our way. Overall, a very successful meeting for my generally nervous little girl.