Monkey Boy has a difficult relationship with Santa. By difficult, I mean, Monkey is terrified of the old guy in comfy pants. He likes the idea of Santa, but when confronted with the real deal, he breaks down into body wrenching sobs. This has not once stopped me from traumatizing him by forcing photos. And I do actually mean force: peeling the child off of my body while he screams and begs me to save him, tossing him on the senior citizen’s lap and bolting while shouting at the photographer, “Take the picture! Take.the.picture!” These are Christmas memories we’re making here, people.
This year, a few days after Thanksgiving, Monkey Boy came home from school and announced Santa Claus was watching him. I don’t know who told him this, but I have exploited this notion completely: The only way to be on the nice list is to use your listening ears… If you don’t mind Mommy, you’ll end up on the naughty list… Santa doesn’t like it when you act like that. I am shameless. In a fit of defiance, Monkey Boy declared, “I’m not scared of Santa.” Well, OK then.
A sweet friend of the family has a Christmas party every year and invites Santa as a special guest. Last year, after about an hour, Monkey Boy mustered enough courage to stand in the same general area as Santa and try to talk to him. But when the big moment came, he froze. Santa tried to help. The result sent me into a frenzy the week before Christmas. This year, we were not gonna let that happen again. Monkey Boy and I practiced in the car what he would say when Santa asked him what he wanted. He was ready. He was stoked. He had a plan.
He walked straight up to Santa. “Hey! Hey Santa! I’m not sitting on your lap.” Santa said, “OK.” Monkey Boy went on, “I will shake your hand.” So he did. Then he proceeded to enumerate the list of things we had discussed. He acted like this was strictly a business transaction, a transaction where the parties stand 10 feet apart from one another, but no-nonsense. There was a little bit of deviation from the list, but he was basically on message.
It took some convincing, but Monkey Boy finally agreed to stand next to the Jolly Old Elf for a photo. We’ll find out in a week how convincing he was in his negotiations. Monkey Boy is pretty sure it’s gonna turn out just fine.
Big thanks to Dave Anderson for the beautiful photos of Monkey Boy and Santa