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Last week I wrote about my son’s first experience with Santa.  Saturday, we were going to have breakfast with Santa in South Pasadena and I wondered if The Littlest E would sit on Santa’s lap for a picture.  Would he have a positive encounter?

Since we put up our Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago and brought out our holiday books, talk of the Man in Red has been non-stop.  Everyday, at least once a day, we read Twas The Night Before Christmas.  Our son can even name off all of the reindeer in his 2-year old way.  He wants to see the pictures we have of him with Santa that were taken last year and he walks around our house saying, “Ho ho ho” and “Menoo Pritmas.”

The Littlest E is so into the holiday spirit, it’s wonderful to see.  He knows Santa is going to drink the milk and eat the cookies we leave out for him on Christmas Eve and he knows the reindeer are going to eat the carrots we leave for them.  He’s excited to give these things to Santa and company.  And, he hopes Santa will bring him feet jammies and the book My World (by Margaret Wise Brown).  Santa is alive and well at the Elliott house.

Last Monday, St. Nicholas actually came to the parenting class The Littlest E and I take.  He was petrified when the jovial elf came walking into our classroom and stuck to me like glue.  Santa sat in a chair and gave gifts out to each child.  When it was The Littlest E’s turn, he didn’t want to go up.  I walked up to Santa holding my son whose legs were wrapped tightly around my waist.  Together, we both sat on Santa’s lap; that was the only way it would work.  He quickly took the gift Santa offered, said “Thank you,” and after a little gentle coaxing he smiled and gave Santa a high-five.  I think he was glad to be back in the circle away from Mr. Claus.  Not the happiest of visits, but it could have gone a lot worse.

As the week went on, it was Santa, Santa, Santa, and I thought maybe his third visit with Santa might go better.  While we were driving to the breakfast, I asked him if he wanted to sit on Santa’s lap.  He replied definitively, “No.  Mommy and Daddy do that.”  We had our answer, which was fine with my husband and me.  We didn’t want to force Santa down his throat.  If a meeting were to happen, it would be on our son’s terms.

Sure enough, when we got to the breakfast and he saw Santa, his legs tightened around me like a vise.  The idea was better than the reality.  There’s nothing wrong with being afraid of Santa.  He is, after all, a stranger, and we teach our son to be cautious of strangers.  Plus, he’s a big, big man in a funny red suit.  Mrs. Claus was there and she was very friendly.  I gave her a hug, but The Littlest E would have none of the festive, elderly couple.  My husband asked, “You don’t want to make him sit on his lap do you?”  I replied, “Of course not.  Just wanted to see if he changed his mind once we got here.”  Our son was fine admiring Santa Claus from afar.

We ate our delicious breakfast of pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs with cheese and green chilies, and orange juice.  We listened to Christmas carolers and heard Twas The Night Before Christmas read aloud.  The Littlest E was mesmerized with the reading.  He decorated a sugar cookie (which he devoured on the way home), and we all had a nice time.  On our way out, we waived goodbye to Santa and Mrs. Claus.  And that was that.

I’m so glad we didn’t try to impose anything on our son that day.  I heard a few children crying while we were there and we didn’t want our son to be one of those unhappy kids being wrangled by their parents to sit on Santa’s lap for a photo opp.  We had other options for holiday cards.  Maybe it’ll happen next year and maybe not.  Perhaps The Littlest E’s relationship with Santa will be a long distance one, with Santa at one end of the room and our son at the other.  That’s all right with me.  Santa’s magic is still ever present in our home.  Our son talks about him incessantly and can’t wait for the big day to arrive.  Technically, you could say we had breakfast with St. Nick, but what we really had was a lovely family morning.

Image: me5otron

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