Last weekend, we attempted the annual pilgrimage to coax our children into ignoring all previous warnings about strangers and sit on an old man’s lap (a.k.a. “The Santa Photo”). Unsurprisingly, it was not the shiniest moment in our Holiday season.
Me: Okay, everyone, Santa photos start at 11 a.m. We need to leave by 10:45!
No one looks away from Paw Patrol.
Me: Okay, guys! We need to leave soon. Who wants their hair brushed? Are you guys excited to see Santa?
No one looks away from Paw Patrol.
Me: Okay, seriously? Now we’re going to be late. We’re going to miss Santa if we don’t go RIGHT NOW.
Children reluctantly and begrudgingly move away from Paw Patrol. Spend exorbitant amount of time looking for socks. Decide that Santa will not put anyone on the naughty list for lack of socks.
Leave house. All festive headgear that I have painstakingly selected thrown on the floor of the car.
Arrive at mall. Only 15 deep in the Santa line up. Remain optimistic.
Me (to husband): I have to go to the bathroom. Can you stay in line with them?
Husband: Will you take at least one of them?
5 year old: I’m coming with you!!
Almost 3 year old: Me too!!
Ride escalator up to washrooms with two of three kids in tow. Spend an awkward minute in bathroom stall while kids watch me pee.
Almost 3 year old (to stranger while pointing back at stall): My mom just peed in there.
Kids spend 10 minutes washing their hands even though they will not do so voluntarily at home. Leave washrooms covered in water and mall soap foam. Momentarily lose almost 3 year old in food court.
5 year old: I’m hungry! Can we get a hot dog.
Almost 3 year old: I DON’T WANT A HOT DOG!
Me: No one said you had to have a hot dog.
Almost 3 year old: I WANT A SMOOTHIE!
Order hot dog and smoothie. 3 year old immediately drops entire smoothie on mall floor and my boots. Attempt to clean up smoothie. Teen working at Orange Julius looks at me like I am sad Tiny Tim from “A Christmas Carol” and provides replacement smoothie.
Almost 3 year old: That is NOT the right smoothie.
Almost 3 year old refuses to drink smoothie.
Walk back to line up. Finally close.
Almost 3 year old: WHERE IS MY HOT DOG??
Me: You didn’t want a hot dog. Have some of your sister’s.
Almost 3 year old (to 5 year old): Hahaha! I’m going eat your hot dog.
Have lost all hope. Christmas spirit at Ebenezer Scrooge/The Grinch level.
Almost 3 year old: I pooped!
[Side note: the almost 3 year old is perfectly capable of being potty trained but has made a lifestyle choice to not be potty trained.]
Me (to husband): Can you smell it? Will Santa notice? We’re almost at the front of the line. Maybe we can just change her after?
Almost 3 year old: CHAAAAAAANGE MEEEEEE!
Major side eye of shame from other patrons in line up.
Ride up escalator. Change almost 3 year old’s pull-up. Bribe almost 3 year old with gummies to get her to leave the bathroom. Begin ride down escalator. Almost 3 year old falls down on the escalator. Return to line up with screaming almost 3 year old.
Front of the line. Remove sleeping 4 month old from stroller. Almost 3 year old begins to whimper.
Almost 3 year old: But I don’t want to talk to that Santa man.
Me (jamming reindeer headband on my head in fury): Agggghhhhh!!! Let’s just do this. Everyone in the picture! Everyone’s getting in the picture! Why aren’t we happy about this? IT’S CHRISTMAS!!
And the result of that effort? This little gem which we will likely be filing under our all time most awkward… Better luck next year, family. Better luck next year.