Tonight was the big night - a visit with Santa, the man with all the toys. Last year's visit was a cake walk. Kate was barely over a month old and she slept the whole time. Simple. Easy. I got some great photos.
This year would be different.
We arrived early. I wanted to give Kate a chance to run around and warm up to Santa a little bit before a crowd arrived. It sounded like a good plan, but when I put Kate down she stood there and just stared at him for about 5 minutes. She looked all around the room, but kept going back to Santa. Her feet never left the spot I placed her in. People began to arrive, and still she did not move. It took her about 15 minutes to realize that Mommy was not with her and then came the tears.
After that I was the only person she would allow to hold her. When Nick finally came over to see us, she wouldn't even go to him and she's all about Daddy in the evenings. Clearly this was not going to go well.
Finally I decided, after letting everyone else get their happy photos, to just go for it. I knew it was going to be ugly, unpleasant, and loud. Every time I walked near Santa with her she tightened her grip on me. Santa was very obliging and talked to her each time we passed, trying to show her that he wasn't evil. She wasn't buying it.I looked at Santa and said "Let's do it." The scream began the second I sat her down, and I think at one point she stopped breathing.
It's not any more pleasant in sepia. Poor kid. Doesn't that face say "Mommy, how could you do this to me?"
I think it's a rite of passage to have at least one year's Santa photo look like this, isn't it? Nick didn't want me to force her to sit on Santa's lap. He just thought we'd do a family picture so she wouldn't cry. Me? I wanted the crying photo. In a sad little way it's very cute.