Ho, Ho, No: Why I won’t be taking a crying Santa photo

There are two main reasons I won’t be taking a picture of a tearful Cub on Santa.

One is I can’t be bothered to stand in line at the mall or anywhere else when I don’t know if he’ll like Santa. Plus it would just be one more thing to do and I’m eliminating tasks this Christmas rather than adding.

But the main reason is I don’t find the photos funny. The thing is, I used to laugh like everyone else at the pics of kids screaming on Santa’s lap. Now that it’s my own little one, I just don’t see the humor.

It would be one thing if I put Cub on Santa’s lap and he then started to cry and we could snap one quick. But I did try at a kids’ Christmas party and he was upset on his way to Santa so there was no way he was getting on the strange man’s lap.

And that’s part of it for me….why do we insist on making our kids sit on a strange man’s lap if they don’t want to? To me, it goes against teaching kids to not talk to strangers or to tell someone they trust if they are made to feel uncomfortable. And perhaps in his mind, it’s a big deal. It’s a stranger he doesn’t like. By making him sit on him, he might not feel safe. That’s not how I want him to feel.

Maybe people think this makes me lame, lacking a sense of humor, too sensitive, a softie, reading too much into a silly photo (because it is silly, isn’t it?! Who isn’t it really for?). Maybe I’m all of the above! I don’t care what other people do, but I’m not going to follow (Santa) suit just because tis the season to flood social media with tearful kids. I mean, CBC even asks you to send in your “worst Santa” photos and I’m sure it’s not the only news outlet.

For me, I’ve never liked to make a baby and now I guess technically toddler cry for no reason. I recognize babies and toddlers cry but when Cub does it because I want a picture that he cares nothing about, my heart says no. Why would I upset him for no reason? It’s not my thing.

It reminds me of a story from about 7 years ago. APB and I took his then 4-year-old son to APB’s dad’s Christmas staff party. His son was encouraged to go sit with Santa (who happened to be APB’s dad!). He dutifully stood near his Grandpa, not knowing it was him. He didn’t stay long before letting out a bit of a cry and running to me. He spent most of the rest of the party sitting on my lap, colouring. APB’s mom commented to Doug that I was keeping the child to myself when in fact he just saw me as the safe person who wouldn’t make him sit on Santa.

I recently read a great article about teaching kids to face and overcome their fears rather than just fixing things for them. You might argue I’m fixing rather than facing here. I might agree if Cub was 6 instead of 16 months.

So for this year, this will have to do for a Santa pic. Who knows what next year will bring, but I won’t be forcing him to sit on anyone’s lap if he doesn’t want to. And that includes anyone, any time – not just Santa.

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May you have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones and may there be more smiles than tears! Merry Christmas from Mama Bear, APB, & Cub ❤

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