Arizona fills up with old people from the north this time of year, and I have to say, I've never seen his sleigh going 20 miles under the speed limit with the left blinker on for three exits causing me pain and anguish on my morning commute. He doesn't whip out the checkbook to pay for one gallon of milk in the express lane at Safeway. Heck he's so busy he never even has time to ramble on and on with no clear ending in sight about something he did in the '50's while he fumbles with his Miracle Ear. He's almost the anti-snowbird.
Two weeks ago when we went to visit him at his winter castle in Superstition Springs Mall we had to wait in line for 45 minutes to get an audience. Throngs of children played happily around the Styrofoam ice mountain while hidden cannons shot a fine spray of soapy foam "snow" high into the air. Like real snow in American cities, it burned their eyes if they got it in them. For many of these kids, the happy times stopped when they realized they were next to see the Fat Man. They stood frozen, like one of his reindeer in the headlights, when it was their turn. One by one, their parents created meal tickets for some future therapist as they wrestled them down onto Santa's lap, literally screaming with holiday cheer. I silently dreaded that while Sabrina was pointing at the train saying "Choo Choo" now, in a minute I'd be one of them. And I admitted to myself that after standing here for almost an hour listening to the genius 8 year old behind us ask his father over and over how it could possibly snow in Arizona (Really kid? Really?) that no matter what, we were gonna do this thing.
Turns out there was nothing to worry about. When I plopped her down on Santa's lap, she gave him a hearty "Ho ho!" followed by fist bumps. Yes, I have a one and a half year old that fist bumps Santa. She gave him a hug and a kiss, we took an incredibly overpriced picture, and off we went. While she had a good time, little did I know this was the creation of one of Santa's super fans.
This morning as we arrived at day care I had forgotten that Santa was going to be there too. For someone who's gonna have the world's eyes on him in little more than a week, he sure does whatever he can to get out of work. No wonder he's so fat. Anyway, when we walked in and saw him, the uber fan was excited. There were two other parents and four kids in front of us, and they had no intention of sitting on his lap. They were in deep negotiations when from her perch in my arms Sabrina waves and yells out "Hiiiiiiii!" at the top of her lungs.
"It's not our turn yet Sweetie these kids are in front of us we have to wait."
"Hiiiiiiii" followed by dramatic (and loud) air kisses to Santa. I almost expected her to scream "Hey remember me I sat on your lap two weeks ago at the mall".
The daycare director came over and said "Well Sabrina what are you going to tell Santa?". This set off a loud chorus of "Ho ho ho!" which was repeated several times. At this point, all the adults in the room are laughing and the parents in front of me said "Um, why don't you go ahead of us...". Sabrina decided this was her cue and wriggled away from me and ran to Santa. They had a good bout of "Ho ho"s together while shaking jingle bells. We snapped a few free* pictures (*if you don't count the thousands of dollars a year it costs to go to daycare in the first place) and went off to class. There was of course a loud scream of "BYE!" as we exited. She babbled extensively until I left, no doubt about how she'd never wash this hand again or something along that line. Ah, youth...