Quick post to capture a nice tradition - kids being freaked out by Santa. Jackson's been obsessed with Santa for the past month, thanks to The Night Before Christmas being one of his favorite books right now. Upon discovering the book's star also says "ho ho ho," he has been Santa-crazy. He laughs every time someone says "ho ho ho." He points out every Santa he sees. He points at his pic with Santa from last year and laughs and says, "Ho ho."
So today we took him to meet Santa. This being Katy means we run into three separate Santas that got weirder as the day went on.
Santa One - La Centerra Santa
After another meal at Otto's, which is our new favorite Katy restaurant, Noelle, Jackson, Rob, Uncle Stephen, and Grandma Stockman wandered over to the tall tree right by Santa. This may very well have been the same Santa we met last year for Jackson's first Santa pics. This Santa dealt with a few crying kids ahead of us, and Jackson waited in line repeating his newest word, "no." This word is said with a very sweet inflection, so don't think he was in meltdown mode before the picture. But the picture is when all went wrong. He reattached himself to his mother, refusing to be put in Santa's lap. Noelle struggled, but he got more upset with every picture.
Santa could care less. I like how completely disinterested he is in this. I imagine he does get sick of crying kids and all, but he's looking off so bored by our son's trauma as though he were trying to remember what he had to buy at the grocery store.
As we walked away, Jackson began his chanting of "bye-bye Santa," so we thought he might be ready to try again in the near future.
Santa Two - Mystery Santa
We then headed to Old Town Katy, where Market Days meant a chance to play in snow and shop at a street festival, plus pictures with Santa. I love Old Town Katy because it is not Olde Towne Katy. Its attempts to be a quaint antique family spot are pretty quarter-assed and right off the main street, there is a lot with couches set around a barbecue pit always frequented by Katy's homeless population and/or undocumented workers ready to hop in your pick up truck should you have an odd job. The first sign that Katy Market Days would not be the family friendly fiesta I was hoping came as we walked up and saw Santa Two walking away from the festival with what looked like Security. We showed Jackson that Santa was coming, but Santa was oblivious to us because he was explaining to Security something about being laid off. He walked by and we missed the photo op, but the mystery still lingers.
Was Santa walking away from the job or was he being escorted away from the job? Was Security removing Santa for some reason or did Santa decide to leave his post hours early? We were asking ourselves these questions as we walked through the half block of stands out in the street (Beanie Baby booth, antique store booth, some kind of preserves booth, etc.) to the lot where the snow was.
There was a nice pile of snow divided into a big kid section and a toddler section. Jackson played on the toddler side, as did a few unsupervised big kids who a) almost pushed Jackson over, b) threw snow balls either at the other section or into the air, and c) refused to listen to Mr. MacGregor. (Luckily, Mrs. MacGregor's superior classroom management kept Jackson safe.) Jackson enjoyed touching the snow and slipping on it, and I think he never actually ate any of it. Everyone else enjoyed it but kept a stressful eye on the mayhem in the big kid's section, where apparently a youth group just descended on it and anarchy reigned.
After the snow, we took pictures on the train set up that was all set up for pictures with Santa. (There was a chair and gifts and tripods, but Santa never returned. I asked a security guard for the story, but he just said Santa took a break.)
Third Santa - Singles-Bearing Female Santa
So we were on our way out, walking the half-block past the stands, when what to our wondering eyes should appear but another Santa. Jackson grabbed on to Grandma's legs as Santa approached. I said hello and when I heard her voice, I realized this Santa was a freshly dressed female Santa who was perhaps filling in for Mystery Santa.
We tried to get Jackson near for a picture, but he would only stand terrified, only getting close to give high fives because he is physically incapable of turning down a high five. What finally got us a picture is when Santa told Jackson she had something for him.
A one dollar bill.
Jackson has no idea what money is, but he went right for that money. He grabbed it and got more terrified. We got our pictures, but at what cost?
I tried to give Santa her money back but she refused it, saying it was a gift.
That is weird, right?
Jackson got his first dollar and left a little traumatized, repeating "bye-bye Santa" again and again on the car ride home. His inflection on it makes it sound happy, but I'm thinking he is just saying no more Santas, really.