Monday, November 25, 2013

First Encounter with Santa

Yesterday, Emily's school board threw a Christmas party for the teachers' children.  It had all the necessary fun things like make-your-own-stocking, fishing-for-the-toy-ducky, pick-a-lollipop-to-see-if-you-won-a-prize, and say-your-name-so-the-guy-checks-the-list-to-find-out-what-present-your-child-gets.  All must haves for any party mostly filled with strangers and one's former history teacher.  But the main attraction of a Christmas party for kids is the ol' sitting-on-the-lap-of-Santa-and-get-a-photo-quickly-taken-when-the-child-is-looking-sort-of-in-the-direction-of-the-camera.  Obviously, we didn't want to walk away from a Christmas party without being able to claim that we've mastered the main event.

Everett sort of is aware of the character known as Santa.  He has the jolly plump fellow in a few of his books.  Except before the party, he referred to him as "Pa Pa."  This is his word for grandpa.  It appears the fact both like to sport white beards was enough to earn them the same name.  Though Santa's beard is much closer to something Everett's "Pa Pa" would have after the country banned razors and scissors for 6 months or so.  I'm also unaware of my father's hobby of riding wild life around town in his red pajamas.  The fact is that Everett lumping the two into the same category meant he was a fan of Santa.

It was my goal before he confronted the over-sized elf that he'd actually get the name right.  I kept reassuring Everett that this man prefers the title Santa.  Now, Everett seemed to believe it was just more fun to declare himself yet another grandparent.  Maybe he was unaware that this guy bestowed Christmas gifts without the title of being a relative.  I decided to change my strategy, and went with the faithful route of making sounds.  Anything Everett holds truly dear has a sound attached to it, so he can point and say "Dog Ruff Ruff" or "Cow Moo."  It appears that the sound a thing makes works as a solid surname.  I alerted Everett to the fact the fat man in his books was "Santa Ho Ho."  Suddenly Everett realized this was exactly the kind of cool guy who deserves his own name, and more importantly, has a sound that must be said frequently.

Everett was truly pumped and rocking to meet Santa.  We arrived at the hall, and pointed him out on the stage.  I asked him who the man in red was, and Everett informed me, "Danta Ho Ho."  A massive smile overtook his face, and he happily watched as child after child sat on his lap.  There were many activities to do in the hall, but Everett preferred pointing towards Santa and letting me know what sound he was supposed to make.  It was clear Everett was ready for his first encounter, and he would be brave enough to take one of the first major coming of age events in one's life: sit on Santa's knee.

We were now in line, and Everett had his "this is the most exciting thing since I chased a squirrel with Summit" face.  It looked like we'd successfully steered clear of the "our kid cried bloody murder with Santa" stories that so many parents are forced to tell.  Everett wanted to hang out with Santa and make "Ho Ho" noises, and this line was the only obstacle in his road to destiny.

Then the girl right before use burst into tears and desperately clung to her mom, and squirmed away from Santa like he was a jostled wasp nest.  I then looked over at Everett, and his face did a sudden browser refresh.  The smile evaporated.  He now had a face of worry.  He wasn't so sure of this Santa fellow anymore.  After all, "Pa Pa" didn't make it a habit of making little girls scream and thrash their limbs.  Could a man who bellowed "Ho Ho" really be trusted?  Everett was no longer so sure.

I tried getting Everett to make the noise again, but this was no longer the time for such merriment.  He was staring at Santa, but it was now a look of dread.  He was trying to see if there were any easy escape routes.  He was trying to figure out if Santa slipped a crab into the poor girl's shirt, which caused the outburst.  He was trying to sort out if this was about to be his final act on Earth.  Santa was dangerous.

I continued trying to talk up Santa, and promise him it was going to be magical.  Everett was now convinced it would only be magical if the definition of the word was "something really scary and awful." 

"Do you still want to see Santa?"

"NO"

"What does Santa say?"

"No"

Now, Santa probably does say that.  I didn't think Everett adding to Santa's vocabulary was a good sign for this turning out well.  His face was stuck on one of worry, and he had stopped any singing or talking.  For Everett, silence often wasn't a good sign, since it either meant he got into the cleaning supplies again or was terrified.  I didn't see a bottle of dishwasher soap in his hands.

I took Everett up the stage, and was ready to pass him to Santa.  Everett was ready to get me prepared for a life as a Chippendale dancer by almost tearing off my shirt by clinging to me so hard.  He then did something that was really rare when in my presence, which was beg for his mommy.  It was now clear he didn't trust his dad to be able to defeat Santa if he turned out to the evil crab peddler that Everett was now suspecting. 

I passed him off to mommy, and then, Emily tried to pass Everett off to Santa.  Everett learned we were all in on this nasty conspiracy, and he burst into tears.  We were now those parents that had to share those stories.  Our kid was a Santa Crier.

We decided to go for a family picture rather than just an Everett and Santa picture.  Everett calmed down since he was right beside his mommy.  After the picture, we kept Everett on Santa's lap, and let them talk for a bit.  Everett quickly learned there weren't any crabs hidden in the coat or beard.  This Santa fellow may have been the fun and jolly man that was advertised.  Of course, it was a little inconvenient Everett came to this conclusion after we took the picture.  Then again, in about 10 years, he won't want to be anywhere near his dad and a camera, so I should probably treasure it while it lasts.

After his little visit with Santa, we went off to do some crafts.  During the entire assembly of his stocking, he would turn around and show me, "Danta Ho Ho." He trusted Santa again, and he was once again allowed to have a sound as his last name.

We turned out to have a Santa Crier, but at least, they seem to have quickly moved on to being buds.

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