It's no secret that Alex is not a fan of Santa. To be more specific, he is not a fan of sitting on Santa's lap. I think he actually likes Santa and the idea that Santa brings toys, but the prospect of interacting with Santa one-on-one? Not so much. Take last year's Santa experiences for example:
But what can I say? I'm a sucker for a good screaming kid with Santa pic. Is that so wrong? Maybe. So this year when our friends the Browns said they were going to go visit Santa at the Bass Pro Shop I decided to try to ease Alex's anxiety by talking through the process. We spent the entire day talking about it.
Me: You want to go see Santa tonight?
Alex: Santa not scare me?
Me: No, Santa isn't scary.
Alex: I don't want to sit on his lap.
Me: But you have to sit on his lap to tell him what you want for Christmas. What are you going to tell Santa you want for Christmas?
Me: What kind of airplane?
Alex: A baby one.
We carried on variations of this conversation many, many times that day and by the time we left the house I really thought we had made some progress. I wasn't going to get my screaming kid with Santa pic but I decided my own selfish desires were far less important than my child's mental well-being.
For the record, Bass Pro Shops has a pretty sweet set-up. There's an electric train that runs around a miniature town (which Alex was mesmerized by), a slot car track, and tables where the kids can color. Genius! See, here's Alex working away on his choo-choo...
And here's some fine coloring left behind by another child, demonstrating the other choice in coloring pages.
That's right, a choo-choo or a hunter aiming his rifle. Only at Bass Pro Shops...
Next up, the main event. Here's Avery seemingly unaffected by his first Santa experience. Awww...
And here's the rest of the picture...
What happened you ask? Well as we approached Santa Alex began to cling to Ben rather tightly and by the time we were standing in front of him the whimpering had begun followed quickly by tears. Santa tried to offer some comforting words (as did I) but it was to no avail. So when I heard Alex whine that he wanted one of the candy canes he had seen Santa give the other kids I took my chance and said "well you have to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what you want then." I have never seen Alex move so quickly as he did to look at Santa, spit out "airplane!", and turn back burying his face in Ben's shoulder. Santa produced the tiny candy cane as promised but wait, what about my picture? So I told Ben to peel him off onto Santa's lap and kneel there beside him if necessary. Santa looked at me like I was crazy as it was so you can imagine his face as I pushed my 6-month old into the crook of his other arm. I mean come on. Like this guy hadn't dealt with a crying kid before?!
Oh, and some have pointed out that they too would be crying if there were such freaky looking reindeer (perhaps once alive? quite possible based on the location.) only feet away. But no. He WANTED to sit on one of them!
So there you have it. I got my picture and 10 seconds later Alex was happily aiming a laser rifle at a target. Again, only at Bass Pro Shops... (Insert heavy eye rolling here.)
But speaking of screaming kid with Santa pics, mine are nothing compared to the doozy my cousin scored this year. Just check out the look on Santa's face! Priceless.