So... we went to see Santa on Sunday... the youngest rehearsed all the night before the three things he was going to tell Santa he wanted. Of course, he also spent time rationalizing that even though he figured if Santa asked if he'd been good that he'd be on the spot, he went through other people that he assumes will be giving him something and... you know... I think he decided all is well in the world with or without Santa. (Woe is me! We have no chance with this one!)
Still, we headed out to see the man in the red suit the next day after brunch which meant, unfortunately, that the little one was a bit tired (it being mid-day). That there was a long, long line didn't help us any, and, not surprisingly, I was chartered with the task of corralling the little one. I did let him run circles around a big pillar in the mall for a bit. It was a long wait, the line inching forwards... inching. And, I noticed something I found fascinating...
I did not take my camera.
(Okay - I considered it.)
As we waited, there were cameras snapping everywhere... in the line (the tree as a backing; perched on top of the giant bronze toy soldier's foot, etc.) and up in front of Santa.
But, at one point, I was trying to distract the little one, and we went up front to see who was on Santa's lap.
And, after the official photo was taken, and before they readjusted fussy velvet and bow-laden dresses (again) and added yet another child to Santa's lap, the mom stepped in front, and took some photos. This family had several different "sittings" with Santa, in fact, and each time, the mom stepped in front and took a few of her own.
And, as soon as Santa saw her... he looked down.
Not really obviously. But... down...
I noticed it... and so I watched.
And... every time a camera appeared, he looked down.
Clearly, that's the protocol.
There is no rule that you can't snap your own photos AFTER the official photo is taken. So, parents don't get mad by being told "no cameras."
But Santa's instructions, clearly, are to make getting a good shot difficult - to look down.
It all makes total sense. Very smart, in fact.
But really fascinating to watch.
To Santa's credit, we did get a nod of the head as he told the boys that the number one rule is "No fighting." And, I swear I heard, right before he ushered them off his lap, "Give your mom a break."
We took comfort in the wise Santa.
For about 5 minutes....
Then, as I sat on a bench after that waiting with the boys for something to be returned, they were happily coming up with alternate "number one rules" - like "no nose picking."
Santa, did you hear that?
Oh, and about that "you can tell Santa three things" approach...
The oldest came to me with a worried look... "He didn't just tell him three things," he said, shaking his head.
"How many did he say?"
"His whole list!"
Oh, it was very funny, and, hearing that, I understood the slightly glazed expression Santa got midway through as the little one kept talking and talking and talking!
Did I mention the one family ... Grandma in red... grown middle-aged son in red and with a very tall bleached pompadour-like hairdo... and twenty-something grandson with shocking red hair and a chartreuse reptile-skin-print shirt... and their little dog... they had a family photo with Santa... and Santa's elf used the horn blower to try and get the dog to ... um... smile. All of this... of course... added to OUR wait in line.
But, I really hope they got a good photo.