Swee’Pea is a talker. She picks up words quickly and is not afraid to use them. She will, for example, tell you when she’s “all done” with a meal (accompanied by an emphatic waving of the arms). She will wave and say “bye-bye” whenever she thinks you’re going somewhere. And she has recently begun to tell us when she has gone “poo-poo.” That, however is for a different story.
On this day, TheMonk and Swee’Pea are dressed in their Christmas best. They do not know it yet but they are on their way to meet THE guy to meet this time of year. One Mr. Claus. Santa Claus.
We head down to our local community center, deciding to take advantage of the proximity and smaller lines than at the local mall. It turns out to be a good choice as there is almost no wait at all and we meet neighbors with their kids all ready to meet Santa.
Now we knew going into this that Swee’Pea might have a little trouble with the big guy in the red suit. Swee’Pea, when amongst friends, is one very outgoing little girl. When we get in the presence of strangers, however, she turns shy and often becomes afraid. Knowing this, we spent the last few weeks talking up Santa in a big way while showing her photos of St. Nick. “We Looooove Santa, Swee’Pea. Santa looooves Swee’Pea.”
Hopeful that our pep talks have been successful, upon arriving we carefully show TheMonk and Swee’Pea Santa from a distance. Mrs. Claus notices us and hands Swee’Pea a candy cane, which she accepts and clutches tightly like a little old lady clutches her purse. Santa waves to us from across the room and Swee’Pea seems intrigued. We take this as a good sign and we boldly carry TheMonk and Swee’Pea over to Santa.
Remembering our success from last year, we carry them over with their backs to Santa – hoping that ignorance would, indeed, be blissful. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be the case. TheMonk, who I was holding, handled it like a champ. He glanced up at the bearded white-haired guy and never changed expressions. He continued to be calm and collected as he accepted the lap of this stranger. Swee’Pea on the other hand chose to react… differently.
As Mommy places Swee’Pea on Santa’s left knee, Swee’Pea casually looks up to see to whom she’s being handed off. In an instant, her expression changes. Her eyes bug out of her head like some shocked cartoon character. A split second after that the shrieking begins. All these weeks of practicing her shrieking finally pay off as she is getting her money’s worth and then some. As Mommy and myself back away, the photographer snaps away. Somehow, Santa becomes distracted (I’m not sure why) and TheMonk begins to slip between Santa’s leg, being swallowed up by a red velvety black hole. Meanwhile, Swee’Pea is not pleased at all. Finally, as she realizes her panicked shrieks are getting her nowhere, she resorts to something that she has not resorted to very much as of late.
Suddenly, and emphatically, Swee’Pea shrieks “ALL DONE! ALL DONE!” while waving her hands outward as quickly as she can. Seeing as how we’d tortured her enough, Mommy swoops up Swee’Pea and soon she is clutching tightly to Mommy while looking at that awfully ugly white-haired man. “BYE-BYE! BYE-BYE” She waves, as if emphasizing the fact that she wants to get the heck outta the north pole. Mommy complies and soon we are outside. Swee’Pea recovers soon enough and goes about playing with the other boys and girls, clutching her Candy Cane all the while.
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