Kaitlyn has been scared of getting her picture taken before. One time, out of the blue, she decided to be scared of the background at Picture People. Our second summer at Busch Gardens she decided stationary carousel horses for photo ops are just too scary to sit on. She didn’t want to sit on the pony the first time she had an opportunity (read: someone other than Mommy and Daddy to pay) for a ride.
Santa Claus was one of those scary things. We weren’t that surprised – it’s one of the reasons we went to the Santa we did. We didn’t wait in line at the mall for 15 seconds with a Santa-picture-machine where we couldn’t even take our own picture. Keith’s company’s credit union (random, I know) has a Santa Breakfast for all of the company. We didn’t go last year, don’t know anyone that has gone, but thought it sounded like a good way for Kaitlyn to ease into Santa. Before we got there Kaitlyn already new how to say “Santa” and that Santa said “hohoho”.
It was a great experience! I was surprised there weren’t more people there – I would guess 50, tops, with only about 20 kids. We were served breakfast (fruit trays, pancakes, sausage and bacon – all food Keith eats! no eggs!), and then… Santa came! He walked in with a big bag over his shoulder and sat down at his chair in front of the tree.
Kaitlyn couldn’t take her eyes off of Santa when he came in. She was entranced. Several little girls ran straight over to Santa, all prepared with their picture-enriched wish lists. Santa looked over their lists as the photographer (yes, they had a photographer, the man in charge of the camera program at the company) snapped away at pictures.
Kaitlyn’s first trip up to Santa didn’t go well, even after Mommy sat on Santa’s lap for Kaitlyn to sit with her (if I had thought I would be in the picture, I would have worn a little bit of makeup, really). So we retreated to watch Santa from a safe distance.
When a crafts table started up even closer to Santa, we edged closer to the jolly man, as children took their time talking to him. Kaitlyn kept her eyes on him. We edged closer. We took a look at the window next to him, the tree behind him, and snuck up on him from behind. No go. Even Daddy sitting on Santa’s lap didn’t work too well, so we retreated again, this time with a gift bag. That warmed Kaitlyn up to Santa a little.
(When we got our pictures from the photographer, he had found a picture of Kaitlyn looking pleasant on Keith’s lap on Santa. He zoomed it in, and it’s actually a nice picture of Kaitlyn and Santa! We even have a few extras of this one for the grandparents.)
After Santa left, Kaitlyn got to give the first whack to a pinata. Then she sat back to watch with a friend she made at the party. After the children had all beat at the poor pinata and some adults got involved and basically poked it open, Daddy helped Kaitlyn pick up some candy and toys. Kaitlyn was more interested in telling Mommy about the “Mess! Mess!”
Next year maybe Kaitlyn will be more interested in sitting on Santa’s lap. Maybe not. It’s her call. But I think we’ll go back to the Santa Breakfast, because if she does want to talk to Santa, this is the way to do it!