Santa is scary. So says Luca, who's been talking about him obsessively for weeks. It started when we were shopping and there was a Santa wandering through the store. She heard his "Ho Ho HO!" several aisles away and excitedly agreed that she DID want to go see him...until HE saw her. As soon as Santa was within locking-eyes distance, she froze up, clung desperately to my shoulder and buried her face in my hair. I tried to encourage her to just look at him, to which she responded, "No, Mama. I don't wanna. Santa is scary!"
That was the first weekend of December. Now, she's seen Santa several times since then (in pictures, on TV, etc) and she likes him in theory, but as soon as we suggested that maybe we should go see him and tell him what we want for Christmas, she would freeze up and insist, "I don't like Santa, Mama. He's scary."
Never one to be easily deterred, I spent several weeks laying the groundwork for a Santa picture. We'd talk about how nice he must be. We'd laugh at his silly fat belly and big white beard. We watched movies where Santa is a nice jolly man. We got everyone around us to testify to Santa's fabulousness. (An aside: we adults never fail to amuse me. Every time I'd talk about Luca's Santa fear around her, every adult within earshot chimed in with these head-nodding, warm-voiced stories of how Santa was very nice indeed and not someone to be feared. Without fail.)
So today I dressed the kids and headed to the mall to meet some friends. After some shopping, I took Luca and a napping Rohan down to wait in line. In the line she was happy, even excited. We talked about how nice Santa was, what she might want to say to him, and how brave she was being.
And then we were next in line. Despite the assurance from the 3 boys in line behind us that Santa is SO VERY NICE INDEED, she froze. She literally would not get within 10 feet of Santa. Rohana was sleeping in his stroller, so originally I'd hoped to get a picture of her alone, then wake him and get some of him alone and them together. Not so much. Instead I unloaded Rohan and got him up on Santa's knee first, while I worked to calm Luca. Rohan was perfectly fine with...even amused by...Santa.
Seeing that, I hoped Luca would mellow out, but it was not to be. I had to scootch Santa over and squeeze in next to him, then pry Luca off my shoulder and spin her so she was facing forward. She was near panic mode at this point, so I ordered her, "Just look straight ahead at the camera. Don't look at Santa."
In the end, she warmed up enough that when he asked what she wanted for Christmas she managed to ask for 'a fishy fish', AND she was able to tell him Rohan wants a ball.
Of course, once this was all over and we were leaving Santa's workshop, she was skipping and smiling and bravely telling me how she had asked for a fishy fish and now Santa HAD to bring her one.
Guess I know what's going to be under the tree for Luca this year!