We had our first big holiday moment of Allie’s first Christmas – Allie’s first Santa Claus encounter. As a parent, I was so excited! And I think to myself “this is ridiculous, why are you so excited? She has no clue what is going on” but as silly as it is I was really excited.
I feel like I had trained her well. For weeks leading up to the meeting I had been showing her pictures and watching videos of the jolly man. I was trying to make a positive association so each time I would make a fool of myself acting so happy and clapping about Santa. She seemed to enjoy it and would clap and smile as we read Christmas books.
The big day finally arrived. I don’t know if she could sense that today was the day she would take a big step, a rite of passage in every kids life, sitting on Santa’s lap. She got all dressed up in her Christmas dress and off we went.
We arrived a little bit late to the embassy hosted children’s party so we missed Santa’s big arrival in the back of a silver jeep. When we got there he was reading a Christmas story to all the kids. This was it! Allie’s first glimpse of a real-life Santa!!
She was not impressed. In fact, at the first utterance of “ho ho ho!” she let out a scream. Oh no! I hadn’t prepared her for the boisterous side of Santa. She typically doesn’t do well with loud, sudden noises and I hadn’t thought about the ho ho hos and the Merry Christmases that might be shouted. I still had high hopes for the actual meeting because he wouldn’t be so loud when she was right there.
After the story was finished everybody formed a line to sit on Santa’s knee. As we stood in line Allie was watching Santa like a hawk. She seemed pretty apathetic about the whole thing – not giggling and smiling like I had hoped but not crying either. As each kid hopped on Santa’s knee we got closer and closer. Still no emotion.
The boy in front of us asked Santa for a label maker!! hahaha, best request ever.
Finally, it was Allie’s turn. The big moment! I really thought Allie would do good. She is a really good and well tempered baby. She waves and smiles at strangers all the time. She will typically let anybody hold her without a fuss. She loves people and usually warms up to people quickly.
I thought it would take it slow, introduce Allie to Santa and see how she reacted instead of just dropping her on his knee. At first she was fine but the closer we got the tighter she clung to me. My hopes for a happy meeting vanished. (Daddy was hoping for the tears)
She was holding on for dear life. Scott like to call her a sloth when she’s clutched onto me so tightly. As nice as she is to most strangers she’s never encountered such a big white beard and imposing red suit.
She took one look at him and was terrified. Poor Santa tried to be nice and calm her down but Allie was too far gone. I mean look at that face – pure horror.
At least pictures of babies screaming on Santa’s knee are still cute. Hopefully next year, with more training and positive associations, she will give a big smile!
Santa left shortly after and Allie found her happiness again.
In spite of the confrontation with Santa Claus we managed to have a good time at the party. It was very, very strange to be in shorts at an outdoor party celebrating Christmas. I don’t think I will get used to the weather during our time here. I put up our Christmas decor and it’s just strange. We’re not going home for the holidays which has been/will be really hard for me. I know that I’m an adult and should just get over it but it will be hard to be away from our family knowing everybody else is gathered together. Thankfully, we have great friends here who will be our stand-in family.
Happy holidays from the Ficklins!