Ho ho, it’s nearly Christmas at last and just five short sleeps to Santa! A combination of my husband’s Christmas MADNESS and my own psychotic planning gene saw us book a full bells-and-whistles visit to Santa in another part of the country FOUR WHOLE MONTHS ago.
It seemed like a great idea at the time. Story time with Mrs Claus. A train ride into the woods to the elf’s house. A Christmas singalong. A visit with the big man himself. A lovely hot chocolate with marshmallows to top it all off. It was going to be magical! A Christmas memory for the three of us to treasure. So excited were we, we even debated bringing the grandparents along for the spirit of it all. But then we knocked that idea on the head because grandparents = overexcitement (not the child’s) = too high expectations = grief for me.
The day rolled around earlier this week. Bad, bad start to the day. The husband was sick, but not bed sick just miserable sick. Pip was cranky and had a touch of diarrhoea. But we were feckin going anyway. I piled the moany men in the car and off we went.
90 minutes later, with both boys napped and well rested, we pulled up at a magical winter wonderland. It was great really. Gorgeously presented place, super fun and friendly elves with cute names admiring the child and helping us out. Just one problem though. The toddler said no.
We had to wait ten minutes before our session began.
Toddler says no.
A tantrum was thrown.
Then we all shuffled into Mrs Claus’ living room for stories. The children gathered on cushions on the floor while the adults stood at the edges (at least 5:1 adults to children. Others obviously went with the grandparents plan), soaking up the delight and wonderment of the little faces. Except of course for our little Pip who stood in the middle of the room shouting “no, no, no, no, no”, then lay down on the floor and did some angry crying, and finally tried to make his escape at the nearest exit.
So we were the parents of “that child”, who was ruining it for everyone else. We left when the tut-tutting started and waited outside until choo-choo time instead.
When the train finally arrived, of course we were last on because we were waiting in a holding pen for disruptive families while the good little story listeners got first dibs. There was nearly an incident when we realised that we might have to sit separately from each other and I could feel a hot temper creep up into T’s body who was just about to lose it, but then a kind father of two little excited girls – who obviously saw it too – made his wife move up in one of the carriages and let us in with them. Thank you kind man.
The train was a huge success at least with Pip enjoying both the ride and the very authentic “choo-choo” whistle. But things turned nasty again when we got shepherded into the elf’s den to sing songs while we waited for our turn with Santa.
Toddler says no.
He was like an escaped convict running from door to door trying all of the handles to see if he could get out and shouting his head off. I tried to distract him by letting one of the elves paint a rudolph face on me. As Julia Roberts would say “BIG mistake. HUGE”. He freaked out and looked at me like his mother had been stolen and replaced with an evil witch. That was enough. I grabbed an elf, got her to bump us up to the top of the queue so we could get the flock out of there and in we went to Santa.
He was a well trained, clever Santa indeed. Recognising the danger signs of an irritated toddler, he had a little chat – which was greeted with some silent staring – and then thrust a trio of miniature cars into the child’s hand. Excellent idea.
Santa huddled us into a photo. Snap, snap. Job done. Off we went. Withered.
Moral of the story: don’t be foisting your child-like, nostalgic Christmas excitement on the uninterested, too-young-to-care child. Magical it was not.
Maybe next year though. Or the year after…