I know, I know, it isn't even December yet, but we went to see Santa anyway. Apparently Santa line ups can be very long and stressful, best to be early. This according to my friends with Santa experience. I figured it best to listen to them as my own Santa experience is extremely out of date! Ryder and I got to the mall earlier than our friends so we "signed in." We got our names on the list (there were 9 people ahead of us,) took our slip of paper confirming which picture package we'd be getting and entered through the green and red gates into Santa's play yard!
The play yard was decorated with Child safe Christmas decorations including glittery presents-fun to touch and fun to chew! There were toys screwed down onto benches, and a TV playing Disney Christmas cartoons. The play yard was huge and filled with girls in dresses, bows and black buckle shoes. Their bouncing curls framing adorable, innocent faces ready to ask Santa for their Christmas wishes. Boys wearing button up shirts with hair combed to the side (why do parents think that is how boys' hair should be combed when they dress up?) motored around the play yard sucking on the glittery ribbons and grabbing at the Christmas balls...on the trees!!
This being my first time to visit Santa in probably 30 years, I had no idea that it was a "dress up" event. Ryder was not exactly wearing his "Christmas Best" and since he has virtually no hair, it wasn't combed to the side. His hair was covered up to keep his bald head warm.
Ryder strolled around and by strolled around, I mean he drug me (I was finger walking him) all over the play yard. We checked out the big TV. He had to get right up in front of it and try to lick the bottom of the screen (he soo reminds me of Scout when she was a puppy.) We checked out the sparkly presents, the Christmas Trees, and the pretty girls in their frilly dresses. Oh, the pretty girls. They sure loved Ryder. One, she couldn't have been more than 4 years old, took to stalking Ryder. Stalking may sound harsh, but seriously, she followed us everywhere!! She walked right up to us, said, "oh, he is soo cute, I just wanna hug him!" Then before I knew it, she had her frilly arms wrapped right around him, squishing his cheeks against her. After the hug, she was smitten, she wanted to pick him up and carry him. He easily weighed almost as much as her, but she scooped him up, squeezed him tight and lugged him all over the play yard. I followed along, hoping to catch Ryder before she dropped him. She held his little fingers and insisted on "finger walking" him herself. At one point she wanted Ryder to try walking all by himself so she let go of his fingers...I wasn't able to catch him fast enough, luckily he didn't land too hard. We couldn't shake the pretty little girl so she hung out with us for the entire 45 minutes we waited for our turn to see Santa.
Finally it was our turn. Santa was adorable! Though it's been years since I've sat on his knee, he looked exactly as I remembered!! I was worried about Ryder making "strange" as he's been doing that lately so I told the photographer that I planned to put Ryder on Santa's knee and hoped she'd be ready to snap a quick pic. A really QUICK pic! She got in position behind the camera, I dropped Ryder in Santa's lap, backed away real quick and got ready to snatch him when he started wailing....he never did. It was like he knew he was sitting on the lap of someone real special. He turned his chubby cheeks up towards Santa's face and immediately grabbed for his beard. He smiled huge smiles. The photographer, Santa and I were all three stunned! The photographer got an adorable shot of Ryder with jolly St. Nick.
We stopped at the till to pay for our pictures (23 dollars, by the way) and the lady taking money was soo enamoured with Ryder that she forgot to ask for my money. She just kept pinching his cheeks, talking about how cute he was that she started waving good bye before I had even opened my walled. I am not gonna lie, I thought about just walking away with my free Santa pictures but my conscious got the better of me. It's just not right to steal from Santa is it?? LOL
Ryder's first visit with Santa will not be something he remembers, but it will be something I will not forget!
Standing up all by myself, using the presents to hold me up!
Hey, ma! Check this out. Ribbons to chew on!
What? It really is yummy!!
Ryder with his buddy, James. James did have
Christmas overalls on!
Ryder's fist picture with the real Santa.
(8 months old)