Last week we attempted what all families flock to accomplish every season: THE SANTA PICTURE.

My toddler was NOT a fan last year, but I chalked it up to my now-toddler just turning one back then. Now, we were older, wiser and much more worldly. I had high hopes for this year.

Waiting to meet the Claus.

Did they come true? Nope. Well, sort of. We were 1 for 1.

My 8-month old was a model Christmas baby. She went to Santa’s lap without a peep, sat on his lap, looked at the elf operating the camera and waited for her screaming sister with sticky candy cane fingers to join her. (I will always remember what a precious trooper she was at her first Santa meeting!) Back to my toddler: a bloody-murderesque shriek of “I don’t want to!!!!” was surely heard by all in the surrounding stores. I knew it wasn’t the first or last time.

But I started thinking: Was there something I could’ve done to face the issue early on? Most likely not, but perhaps yes. I’d ‘prepared’ my baby for this visit (feeding her, napping her, dressing her comfortably)… maybe I dropped the ball in priming my toddler for it too?

Next time, before heading out to smile with Santa, I will:

FEED THE TODDLER A LITTLE EXTRA. For all I knew she was hungry. We’d had breakfast that morning, but after further thought I realized she really didn’t eat that much of it. And seeing a jolly old fat man just before lunch who was visibly not wanting for food would surely make anyone mad.

TALK ABOUT WHAT WE WERE DOING AND WHY… BEFORE WE WENT.  I guess I’d be freaked if my mom took me to my favorite shopping place and then abruptly tried to hand me off to sit on the lap of a complete stranger who hadn’t shaved in over a decade. Maybe a simple “We are going to meet Santa Claus, who brings all the presents for Christmastime” or “We’re going to take a picture with a nice Grandpa so that we can give it to Daddy as a present” or something along those lines. Just maybe, that would’ve helped.

DRESS HER IN APPROPRIATE CLOTHING. Yup, there’s a big story here. And it was all my fault.




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