Suddenly, Noah decided that this wasn't such a big deal...and Lincoln began to scream! Just as I rushed to try and snap my priceless photo my camera battery died! Aaargh. So, I spotted the closest mom with a camera and quickly asked if I could borrow hers (thanks, Sarah!!!)...just in time to capture this:
We didn't make Lincoln stay on Santa's lap any longer, but Noah wanted to put in a present request. I loved watching him get his shy little face on...
...and to then very specifically request the only thing he wanted for Christmas - "Hard Buzz Lightyear wings" to wear. I loved how when Noah actually made his request, he looked right into Santa's eyes as if searching out an answer on whether or not he'd be granted his wish.
Sarah (who loaned me her camera at our church party) emailed me to say that she went out of town right after the party and that she'd get me the pictures when she got back after Christmas. Being the person I am - I couldn't chance it that none of the pictures would turn out - so I decided to take my boys and brave a visit to the mall Santa. Oh, man, was it good that my mom came with us too (Mark was working). Brace yourself for the full version of the story (I have to document it)...or just scroll down to the picture at the bottom.
Here we go. I'll skip all the drama of getting both boys ready and loaded into the car since that's a given. We drove about 1/2 hour away to pick up my mom and then headed to the mall near their house. We loaded both boys into the stroller and headed into the mall. The minute that the stroller passed the threshold of the mall all heck broke loose. Lincoln began a full out tantrum - screaming, arching his back, hitting Noah...he wanted to get out of the stroller. Lovely start.
Once we got through the crowds to the center of the mall where Santa's lair was, we saw the HUGE, big ol' line. Ugh. Then I saw the sign that said Santa would return at 6:15...and it was only 5:45. Seriously? So this huge line wouldn't even start moving for another 1/2 hour? No way. After only about 60 seconds more of Lincoln's tantrum I realized this wasn't going to happen, so we headed up to the food court. I thought we could burn some time, and I could be a "nice mom" and get the boys some McDonalds for dinner. I stood in line to get the boys' food and my mom took laps pushing the stroller around the food court since Lincoln didn't scream as loudly if they were moving.
Finally. I had our food, we were seated at a table in the busy food court, and I gave Linc his cheeseburger...foolishly expecting the screaming to stop, a smile to appear, and something resembling, "Thanks, Mom!" to emerge from behind Lincoln's binky. Nope. He looked at the burger. Looked at me. And promptly threw it onto the floor & screamed that he wanted out of the stroller. I looked down at the ground and saw my hopes of "nice mom" splattered all over the floor, and I had to count...to about 20.
After several minutes of coercion, stares from people sitting around us, and lots of juggling on the part of both my mom and I - Noah gobbled down his meal and Linc ate almost 1/2 of my sandwich. Sigh. Of course Lincoln has still not abandoned his campaign for release from the stroller (but have you seen how fast that kid can run?)...nope.
It was past 6:15, so we went back downstairs to the Santa area to see that he had returned. Unfortunately the line was not any shorter. So, my mom & I decided to divide and conquer while we waited. We let Lincoln out of the stroller and my mom followed him while he ran around - and Noah and I held our spot in line. I definitely got the easy job. Not too much later we decided that my mom would wait with Noah and I would take Lincoln with me over to Gymboree to check out their sale (since I still needed to score the traditional Christmas Eve pj's for the boys).
I took Lincoln over to Gymboree's electronic babysitter (their TV playing kids' shows) thinking I could buy at least a couple of minutes looking at pj's while he sat there on the kids' chairs watching something. Of course not. He bolted away and ran behind the counter where the store clerks work - and started trying to pull things out from their work station! Seriously?! Long(er) story short...after I had the clerk call several other stores trying to find one of the pajamas I liked in another size (so the boys could match) I finally decided to just buy one pair and look for another later. While I was trying to pay, Lincoln bolted from the store out into the busy mall. I dropped my wallet and ran after him. Luckily I didn't have to look long before I realized that the mall play area was right there, and I found him playing there. He ramped up his level of tantrum when I picked him up and carried him away to go back and finish paying for those pajamas at Gymboree. I got out of there as quickly as possible and let him run wild in the little kids' area for a while.
After not too long I got nervous about how quickly the Santa line could have moved and decided that we better head back over. I tried to sweet talk Lincoln into coming, but it was apparent that nothing was going to work...I had to pry his chubby little fingers off of the truck he was in and carry him kicking, screaming, and flailing back over to the Santa line. As we joined Noah and my mom back in line he took his tantruming to a new level that I honestly have never seen before. No exaggerating. He really wanted to go back to the play area, and was dead-set on winning this battle. He threw himself onto the mall floor, thrashing around and screaming bloody murder. I kept thinking that he'd tire himself out and give up. Nope. He just kept going and going. I tried to show him Santa, the pretend snow, anything that would normally distract him, but to no avail. At this point - "winning" this battle came down to two points...First, it wasn't fair that Noah should have to miss out after being excited to sit on Santa's lap this time (and I didn't want to miss seeing that). And secondly, I was certainly not going to reinforce this kind of behavior. I didn't want Lincoln to realize that ramping up his protests to this level of tantrum would get him what he wanted.
So, the tantrums continued. The adults around us mostly tried to politely act as if they didn't hear anything...and after 10-15 minutes of this I realized that I smelled something. Yup. Diarrhea. Honestly. We were only a couple of people away from the front of the line and I was so not going to step out of line at that point. I checked and the smelly stuff was right up to the top of the diaper, and I hate to admit it...but it was also just starting to leak through part of his pants. (At this point you may be thinking, "You didn't..." Oh, yeah. You bet I still did.) Finally we got to the front of the line (after the lady two people in front of us spent almost 5 minutes trying to get her baby to smile for her Santa picture...come on!) and I put my stinky kid on Santa's lap as I silently apologized. Noah climbed up onto Santa's lap cheerfully, AND, amazingly, Lincoln's screaming immediately stopped. And we captured this picture:
I love it. Seriously. I wouldn't want to do that visit again, but I just crack up when I look at this picture. Lincoln's glare just makes me laugh. Seriously, click on that previous picture and look at it larger. You can't look at it and at least not smile.
Here are a couple of things I left out of the story...while Lincoln and I were gallivanting around Gymboree, Noah drank a little too much of his Sprite while in line with my mom and barfed on the floor. This happens with him on occasion if he drinks too much of anything. My poor mom scrambled through the diaper bag to find something to clean it up with and had to use a diaper. I'm sure that the people around them must have either rolled their eyes or laughed when Lincoln and I joined them in line. Ha!
Once I finally got both boys onto Santa's lap I was literally perspiring from restraining Lincoln (who is a strong kid)...and I couldn't get the flaky girl taking the pictures to look at us and take our picture. She was helping the cashier explain all the package options to the people who had just gone before us. I about lost it, not knowing how long the boys would sit their quietly before Noah might decide that he was nervous...or Lincoln might start tantrums again...or Santa might ask us to remove our child who was sitting in a pile of poo. Luckily the boys kept sitting there - Noah biting his lip and grinning, and Lincoln just glaring at the world with a look of angry submission on his face. After a couple of minutes she finally took their pictures.
I got the boys down and asked my mom to take them to the mall play place while I paid the outrageous prices that they charge to capture this magical moment. It's good that she took them too because it took nearly 10 minutes for the people in front of me to finally figure out what packages they wanted, and then for the girls to get me rung up. Then it was off to change that blowout of a diaper, to hit another store for pajamas, and to load the boys into the car to take them to Christmas Village. Looking back I can't believe that we didn't just call it a night after that, but I'm glad that we didn't! We had a fantastic time there, and I'll post those pictures on the next post.
I'll close this post with just three little random Santa tid-bits from Christmas 2009:
- Noah saw a billboard of Santa drinking a Coca-Cola, and was confused saying, "I thought that Santa drank milk with his cookies, Mom..."
- After regurgitating information that we've provided Noah about how smoking is not good for your body, Noah announced that Santa must just smoke a pipe because his mom forgot to tell him that it wasn't good for him.
- Whenever Noah would hear about or see somebody not being nice, he would say, "They are definitely on the naughty list, huh Mom?"