Back in 2007, it was Catie’s first Christmas, and Dave and I had this idea (or maybe it was only my idea, I forget) to take her to get her picture taken with Santa. Because, you know, that’s what kids are supposed to do. Or something. Who knows, I barely slept the first two years of her life, I don’t really remember much.
The visit to Santa? It… didn’t go well.
And that is the last time that Catie ever sat on the lap of a professional mall Santa. She’s been terrified of the big guy ever since. She likes the videos he sends through the Portable North Pole website, but the computer monitor is as close as she’s willing to get. (Btw, that’s not a promo for that website or anything, but if you have a Santa-believing-aged child, you can send them a custom message from Santa and it’s pretty awesome. My girls love it.)
But, you know, Catie and Lucy are very different personality types. I mentioned to Lucy that we could go to the mall, and she could meet Santa in person and tell him what she wants for Christmas. She flipped out with excitement.
“I go see Tanta Ho-Ho! I sit his lap! I tell him I want a mermaid!”
(Side note: she used to call him just “Ho-Ho,” so the fact that she’s now added something that vaguely sounds like Santa is… an improvement? And I don’t know what happened to the 3rd “Ho,” you can make up your own dirty joke there.)
Anyway, yesterday we went to the mall, but of course we got there when Santa was just about to go on his lunch break.
We killed some time by going on the merry-go-round at the mall.
Then, since there were already a few people in line waiting for Santa to get back from his break, we got some snacks, made a coat pile, and waited for Santa’s return.
Finally, Santa came back, and the few kids in front of us had their pictures taken while Lucy said, “It my turn yet? It my turn yet?”
When it was her turn, she marched up to him, shook his hand, told him her name, told him that she was 2 years old, and sat on his lap for a picture.
The funny thing is that while she was totally cool with meeting Santa, she was actually a little bit scared of the guy who was taking her picture, which is why she wasn’t really smiling. But she was so excited, and she talked about meeting “Tanta Ho-Ho” the whole way home.
Meanwhile, when Lucy was having her picture taken, Catie refused to go anywhere near the guy, and Chris had to walk her away from the “Santa’s workshop” area, to keep her from completely freaking out.
And hey, that’s not a criticism of Catie at all. Mall Santas can be sketchy. And Catie is a cautious kid who is sometimes shy around new people. (Although, that depends on the person. Last month at my sister’s wedding, she met my cousin Cici for the first time, and she immediately hugged her and sat on her lap. When I asked her about it later, she said, “She felt like somebody I knew.” Who knows, maybe that’s just the magic of that bond that I have with my cousins that she felt.) Honestly, I think it’s TOTALLY FINE that Catie doesn’t want to meet Santa. But I think it’s kind of fun that Lucy does.
It’s not the first time they’ve shown me the contrast in their personalities, and I know it won’t be the last. But it still amazes me every time. They are so similar and so different at the same time, they just blow me away.