Monday, December 17, 2007

the red velvet lap of doom



Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, I have just one for this Polaroid. Suck. As in, how much does it suck that my baby cried the first time he saw Santa? Or as in, how much does it suck that I am so bummed out about it? I tried so hard not to get my expectations up. I knew it would happen. So why did I subject my kid to this torture? I just couldn't help myself. I couldn't wait to put him in his cute little overalls and take him out to see the light festival at our local zoo. I reek of first time parent, don't I? Guilty as charged.

Last year was really his first Christmas, but you know, he was 6 months old and even more oblivious. Plus we went out east so there just wasn't time for a Santa visit. Last year we were all so darn sick, Lucian had RSV - it was not a really good holiday anyhow. I guess I'm trying to make this one better so I'm trying to get into the spirit early and often.

Over all, I have to say that the trip to this holiday event was ok. It was time well spent with family since we went with Oma and Opa D. So, I don't want to sound ungrateful for the experience. I'm just perplexed by the whole thing really. My son is normally a happy, cheerful, playful, loving and friendly kiddo. He usually never has a problem with strangers and rarely does he ever become shy. (that's enough to worry me right there for other reasons) So, I was secretly really hoping we might be able to pull the Santa thing off.

Before we left the line area, I made a point to calm him down and then take him back over to watch other kids sitting on Santa's lap so he knew it wasn't all horrible and that I wasn't sadistic for putting him on some stranger's lap. He almost acted like he wanted to go make another try at it but I know he really wanted to dig around the area where Santa was handing out little treats so I redirected him.

I was fully expecting the possibility of him crying and was mentally preparing myself for being ok with it. But now I feel like taking him to see Santa was no different than taking him to get his shots. I mean, what is the difference? You have to wait in a long line and deal with other people's rug rats running around with snotty noses and coughing and being impolite and hoping and praying that your kid isn't going to copy some awful thing the other negligent parent's kid is doing. Then you finally get called up to go do the thang with the kid and then the thang makes him scream and cry and as soon as it's over it's like it never happened in the first place and the kid is back to his normal cheery self.

Ugh! It's experiences like these that make me stay in more and more. I have to echo some of the recent sentiments that so many others are blogging about right now: Tis the Season of I Hate other People's Kids!! What is it about the holidays that brings out the ick in people? I don't hate all other people's kids, just most of them. And I hate to say that because I am an educator, but at least in school, there is some decorum. I enjoy being around other people's kids in school, but the mall or stores, fuh-geh-ti-bout-it! And, the irony about that is that's when the parents are usually with the kids when they are in the malls and other public places and that's when they are at their worst! What gives?

Maybe I need to re-think this. Maybe it's not the kids that are the problem, maybe it's the parents that drive me nuts. And here I am creating and promoting parent resources! Well, I guess that's why I do it. I feel like I see so many parents out there who don't have a clue about their child's development and don't really care. It makes me so sad. I get to hear about it in the upper echelon of the education food chain day in and day out because I'm married to a h.s. teacher which makes me married to the cause for education as well. So, if I think it's bad at this level, it only gets worse as they get older. Is there any hope?

Taking Lucian to see Santa was exhausting because we all had to watch him like a hawk. Not that I don't normally supervise my kid, but there were so many people there and I'm so paranoid about someone snatching him or him wandering off and me ending up in the news. (I watch too much news is my problem. Nancy Grace gives me nightmares, but then I again, I think it's her makeup job that does it to me.) The poor kid just wanted to toddle around and explore everything like he's wired to do. I wanted so badly to just let him run wild and explore like we do at home with supervision but all the other kids misbehaving was just making me nuts. I had to whip out the teacher voice a couple of times to ask some kid to please stop attacking the poor Frosty the Snowman fixture. Lucian saw it and wanted to copy the behavior and that's where I draw the line. One of these days I know some other mom is going to deck me for reprimanding their kid, I just know it.

That's why I seldom go out. That's why I want to put my precious little one in a bubble and just roll him around in it. Why can't they make giant hamster balls for kids?

Ok, I know this is not a realistic way of thinking and I am a naive first time parent and maybe the next one I'll let loose like a wild dog. I know I need to get over it. But, day-am...when other people don't parent their kids, it makes our jobs so much harder, doesn't it?

ok, enough griping. Give me some credit. I let him eat dirt today. Minus the rocks. Because he has enough fiber in his diet.

So, what is the skinny if there are any other second or more-time parents out there reading this? Is it like the lottery when it comes to kids crying on Santa? Is it something about the color red that sets them off? I feel so bad for Santa, really. The Santa we took him to see seemed like the perfect Santa I would want for my kid to meet for the first time. He had a great Santa voice with a polite and gentle demeanor. And then I put my precious child on his lap and he whales. I apologized up and down to the dude but he just gave me that knowing look, cuz, you know, he's Santa and all.

I feel bad that he cried, but I have to admit it is kinda cute in a way. Something about the way his nose wrinkled up. My MIL convinced me to get the Polaroid picture they were selling. I wasn't going to, but I'm glad I did. She's right. It's still a special moment to cherish even if it wasn't the most desirable outcome. I've learned that the moments he cries are just as special as the moments he's smiling because it means he is feeling and learning and that's a lot to be thankful for. At least I got the joy in rescuing him and making him feel all better, cuz, you know, I'm Mom and all.

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