Elanor has been having some separation issues of late. She’s always been a little teary when I leave her with her grandparents, but until recently her dad and I were interchangable, with a preference for me.
Her dad can pick her up and if I’m walking next to them she’ll howl and stretch her arms out for me. If her dad is at home and I dare go to the bathroom alone, she will stand at the door and hit it and sob until I come out. This is the dark side of object permanence–she KNOWS I’m still there even though she can’t see me and it’s NOT OKAY for me to be out of her sight. It is mildly flattering, I suppose to be the center of someone’s world like that, but it is also exhausting.
Before I had kids, I never really had the proper appreciation for being able to go to the bathroom with the door shut and to do my business in peace. It’s something I mention to my childless friends as something to enjoy before they spawn (for those that plan to) or to enjoy and gloat about (for those that don’t).
Knowing all of this, I still forged ahead with the trip to see Santa. It created such adorable pictures last year that one became our holiday card. I muttered offhandedly to Ravi that this would probably all end in tears (and not just E’s) but what the hell. He later told me he thought I was being sarcastic.
The first sign that this was all going to go wrong was that I couldn’t find the Christmas Tree tights.
Then the new outfit (well, secondhand, but new to us) which was her current size, had a skirt that hung off her hips a la a young Britney Spears. This was not the look I was going for.
The clothes were trying to tell me to wait until she was bigger. That it would be a mistake this year. I should have listened to the fashion, but I didn’t.
I finally figured out an outfit that fit and we picked up my best friend. The four of us headed to the mall.
We got in the wrong line…I thought the long line was for Santa, but it was to pick up pictures. Yet another sign from the universe to just skip the damn picture.
We get in the right line and everything is fine until we hit the front of the line.
The Santa at this mall is someone who has been doing it for over 25 years, and last year he was great. Of course last year we didn’t get there at 7 on a Saturday. This year he looked shell-shocked, akin to a prisoner of war who has been repeatedly tortured until they’re just blank in the eyes. He gave me a look that said “you’ve got to be kidding me.”
I handed Elanor to him and hadn’t even backed out of the shot before she started freaking out. I let them take 4 pictures as I knelt on the floor and clapped and pleaded and tried to get her to even be calm. The photographer asked me if we wanted to try again, and I said “absolutely not,” which was the first smart thing I’d said once the words “let’s take her to see Santa” were uttered.
I then wasted 20 minutes in line because the photographer LIED to me and said there were one or two good shots. Not really sure what her definition of “good shot” is, but what I saw was not in the same galaxy as a good shot. Then the sales person was shocked that I didn’t want to pay $20 or whatever to commemorate this train wreck of an adventure and gave me back my ticket so that I could “think about it” and come back and buy the overpriced photo or “try again” with Santa.
Look, I’m dumb enough to try taking my 1 year old to see Santa once, but I’m not dumb enough to try it a second time.