Sydney was so excited to talk to Santa at this breakfast that she had trouble getting to sleep the night before, and when we woke up that morning it was nothing but, "I'm going to say hi to Santa! And I'll ask him what his reindeer like to eat! Do they like carrots? I bet they like carrots!", etc.
So off we trek, the girls in their Christmas finery, the grown-ups in their work-out gear (because after this breakfast business we might as well throw them in childcare and get a work-out in, since we're already at the Y and all). Before we can even sit down to our pancakes Sydney has just GOT to see Santa, so we walk right in, give the elf our names, and...
You know how sometimes you have A Really Big Moment coming up, and you're so excited for it, and you just can't wait, and then the Really Big Moment arrives, and you just...freeze?
Will's not really into Santa, so she had no desire to sit on his lap, and Sydney just...froze. Wouldn't sit on his lap, wouldn't talk to him, would hardly even look at him.
As soon as we left his presence, however, and found our seats at the breakfast table, she suddenly realized what she had done:
Of course, the good thing about our breakfast with Santa is that there was breakfast, and there was Santa. We could have some pancakes and juice, get our blood sugar up, and then have another go.
While Sydney was busy stuffing her face with pancakes, I had a little murmured conversation with Willow. I reminded her that she was the big sister, and that her little sister looked to her to know how to react in new situations. I told her that I knew that she wasn't really interested in sitting on Santa's lap, but that Sydney really, really wanted to, and was just too nervous. I told Willow that if she did do it, if she walked right up to Santa and sat down on his lap and had a conversation with him, then her sister would see that it was okay, and she would sit on Santa's lap, too, and wouldn't it make her feel so good to see her sister do something that she really wanted to do? Willow agreed that this would make her feel good, so we had a high-five, and we had a plan.
My Willow is an amazing kid. She generally prefers not to speak with strangers, and always needs to be reminded before walking into a relative's home that I do require her to look into their faces and greet them and give them a hug (yes, I'm from the South, and it IS required, and she's lucky that I don't force her to kiss everyone, too, like all the true Southern kids have to). However, knowing that her sister was counting on her, knowing that her good example was necessary to help Sydney be brave enough to do something that she really wanted to do, Willow walked right up to Santa and sat down on his lap and had a conversation with him:
And then...so did Sydney:
Mind you, we do a list to Santa, but it's not one of those "You write it and send it in and then Santa's definitely going to bring it to you" deals. First of all, I don't have enough money for that sort of arrangement, second of all, I reserve the right not to buy crap even if my kid asks for it, and third of all, the only things on Sydney's list this year were:
- a white kitten small enough to hold in the palm of her hand
- a robotic unicorn that's big enough to ride
- the longest hair in the world
Yeah... no. I tell Sydney (Willow doesn't care) that Santa knows what would make you the very happiest, and that's what he brings you. It's a lie, of course, because what would make Sydney the happiest would be a tiny white kitten, a robotic unicorn that she could ride, and to have the longest hair in the world, but what can you do? Science has only progressed so far.
And so, to be fair to what I'm about to tell you, I did know that this particular item was on Willow's list; I just had no intention of purchasing it for her. I'd already bought her professional-quality balloon-twisting supplies, and a big snap circuit set, and some fleece pants, because who doesn't love fleece pants?
Anyway...there we are, Willow sitting on Santa's lap having a little chat, Sydney looking on, absorbing it all and gathering her strength. The conversation between Willow and Santa goes like this:
Santa: "And what do you want for Christmas, Willow?"
Willow: "A pogo stick."
Santa: "A pogo stick?"
Willow: "Yep. I want one a lot."
Santa: "Okay, Willow, then I'll bring you one."
All I can say is thank GAWD for Wal-mart. It's the only place in town that had junior-sized pogo sticks in stock, and I know, because Matt called them all. We were thisclose to driving to Indianapolis, for pete's sake. Call this Reason #4 why lists for Santa suck.
Santa was right. He was absolutely right on target this Christmas. Because of him, Willow received a present that I never would have actually bought her otherwise, and because of that--well, check out this home movie. No, I don't expect anybody except for this child's mother to watch her pogo for two full minutes, but do watch her for a few seconds (the kid's a natural), and then fast-forward to the last ten seconds or so, when I ask Willow how it feels to be the "world pogo champion of the world", and look at her face as she says those words:
Thank you, Santa.