I’ve joked before that my annual January tradition here on this blog is to catch up on blogging about Christmas-related things — and so for today’s post, I wanted to share the quick but belated story about Lillian’s second encounter with Santa Claus.
Way back on December 18th, Lillian’s daycare threw its annual Christmas party for all the kids and parents, just like last year. And just like last year, there was a special visitor!
Last time around, Lillian was just over a year old, and the moment we put her on Santa’s lap, she squirmed off onto the floor — check out this post for the whole story. At that age it seemed pretty clear that she didn’t really understand what was going on or who this bearded guy was supposed to be.
This time around, at just over two years old, I think she had a better understanding of the concept of Santa Claus — she would recognize and point out pictures of him on cards or wrapping paper, though pronouncing it “Hoppa” instead of “Santa.” And when Santa came in, she seemed excited. “Hoppa!” she said in awe.
Santa came bearing a big bag of gifts for all the kids, who took turns sitting on his lap for the requisite photo op (and of course to collect their present). I was holding Lillian while this went on, and she remained calm right up until it was her turn, at which point she started freaking out. “No! Noooo!” she cried, clutching onto me, and at one point even tried to scramble out of my arms and into Joe’s since he was standing slightly farther away.
We tried to gently encourage her and let her know that it was okay, but she was having none of it, and eventually Santa just gave up and handed her present to me to hand to her, as evidenced by this blurry photo:
The present turned out to be a Chutes and Ladders game — Lillian calmed down right away and enjoyed ripping the paper off to reveal what was inside. “What a nice present!” we said. “Don’t you want to go say thank you to Santa Claus?”
“Thank you, Hoppa,” Lillian said in Santa’s general direction, but without daring to move any closer. And when it came time for Santa to go, she said, “Bye bye, Hoppa,” as politely as could be, but still keeping plenty of distance.
So in conclusion, aside from the part involving the present, it would seem that this year’s encounter with Santa Claus verged almost on being a traumatic event. Oh well — third time’s the charm, right? Maybe next year will be the year we finally get the opportunity for that iconic “sitting happily on Santa’s lap” kid photo!