My Child Hates Santa, And That's Okay
No child was harmed in the making of this photo
In a box in an album burried somewhere is a photo of me around age five in a beautiful blue velvet dress with my hand to my forehead hanging over my place setting and wailing while a life-size snowman lingers over my shoulder.
I do not like mascots.
For the most part, and outside of Halloween, I do not like grown people in full costume, especially character costumes. They make me uncomfortable.
They always have and they probably always will.
I’m not going to be the person high-fiving the Mariners moose at a game. I’m not going to pose for a photo with whatever the Seahawk mascot is called. You will not find me sitting on Santa’s knee. Ever.
I have not modeled this for my child. It’s just who I am. I try not to bring my weird energy about little things that don’t really matter into his world. I want him to have the opportunity to make up his own mind and find his own boundaries.
At the time this photo was taken a week or so ago, he was 18 months old. And he was not about Santa AT ALL.
I expected this. I saw it coming. He’s in a clingy mama stage. When we go places and he meets other adult humans who talk to him, he looks at them and points to me and says, “mama.” He points to his daddy, looks at the stranger, and says, “dada.” They usually nod and smile at us. He needs these humans to know who he’s rolling with, and it is certainly not this new stranger. Not yet. Maybe not ever. I find it endearing. I love that he’s learning his family and recognizing who spends the most time in his orbit.
An old man in a red suit is not one of them. So, for us to abandon him on this person’s knee before he understands the legend and magic and lore of Christmas is mostly for us. We know that. If he had smiled for the photo, I would have considered it some crazy Christmas miracle. Developmentally, he isn’t and shouldn’t (for him) be in a place where Santa makes sense. At minimum, I would have expected him to be confused.
We snapped the photo, scooped our crying child from Santa’s lap, calmed him down, ordered the photos, and moved on with our day. I put them on Facebook for the memories, mostly for me. They change so much in a year and we hardly ever have those exact same backgrounds to compare.
And then the comments. I manage social media profiles for a living and should dig in to how to turn them off on individual posts when I feel like I might be annoyed, even if people are well-intentioned, as they usually tend to be. I just…don’t want to hear it. Aside from some of my buddies who posted photos in the comments and said, “Girl, same!,” I just don’t have the energy for what I consider to be pretty useless chatter about my kid and his state of mind.
Who knew that becoming a mommy could be so forever triggering? I should have guessed. When I read something like, “Maybe next year he’ll be ready!” and “So many crying babies this year! Makes me sad,” I don’t hear the good intention. Who cares if he’s ready? What’s so bad about a toddler who's afraid of strangers? If he cries next year, he cries next year. I love him for who he is in every moment and if he inherited my distaste for mascots, maybe we eventually abandon Santa’s knee all together.
In the meantime, I’ll probably stop posting photos on Facebook.