Sticking with our “do it all at the last possible minute” agenda, we took Sophia to visit Santa this past weekend.  (Emma has officially reached the age of “too cool to sit on Santa’s lap, even though I think I still believe in him.”)  We fought the maddening crowds because it just wouldn’t be Christmas without standing in line for an hour to spend 3.7 seconds with Santa Claus.  What amazes me however, is that the same child who must sit on her chair with one butt-cheek hanging off the edge because remaining at the dinner table for 5 consecutive minutes is a chore, somehow manages to stand in line for an hour quietly and patiently.  Behold the power of the red suit.  I wish Santa would come to my house every night and just hang out on the couch while I serve the meals.

While we stood in line, I got to enjoy watching a lovely cross-section of the NJ parenting population.  Sophia was too terrified to speak or move, so she didn’t require much intervention other than the occasional nudge forward.  The mom behind me was obsessed with her kids’ hair.  I think she brushed it no less than 4 times before we got to Santa.  The child in question was a boy with a close-cropped do.  My favorite though, was the dad in front of me.  He obviously forgot that he stood among a large number of small children with virgin ears (or perhaps not, in the case of his own kids) for he dropped the f-bomb, s-word and goddamns like they were necessary.  Thankfully my child was too caught up in her fear of Santa’s wrath to pay much attention.  Oy vey.

We finally reached the end of the line.  It was there that I was assaulted by two unwelcome and simultaneous sights:  The Sign that read “Please refrain from taking photos of your child unless a photo package has been purchased.”  and the pushy elf chick who shoved the sample photos and price sheets in my face.  Beg pardon?  First of all, if I am purchasing a photo package, why would I need to take my own photos?  Second of all, no one tells me I can’t take photos of my own child.  I understand you want to make money, but this is my baby and she wants to sit on Santa’s lap and give him her wish list.  I do not want to give you 25 bucks for 5 photos that may or may not suck.  I want to take advantage of my free will and my free country and take a photo of MY kid. 

So I did what any badass wussy sensitive-to-the-small-businessperson mom would do–I handed my camera to my husband and told him to sneak around to the other side of the crowd of Elvin Gestapo and snap some pictures.

I guess the fates favored the enemy that day because they and that evil known as the “digital camera delay” resulted in the following photo of my baby with Santa:

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Well-timed evil elf dude. 

I guess the important thing was that Sophia got to sit with the big guy, and she didn’t cry or pee on him.  In fact, she was all-smiles at the end, and while I might not have a photo, I’ll always remember that hour with her and the dregs of humanity.  And she’ll hopefully remember feeling the magic.

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