Visiting Santa in The Hills isn't like Santa in A2. In A2 you go to Briarwood, stand in line for a few minutes while looking at fake snow and mangy-looking stuffed animals, sit on the worn patch on Santa's knee while a zit-faced teenager takes your picture, get a broken candy cane, and be sent on your way. The grainy picture costs $14.99 and comes with a "sweet" graphic that says "Merry Christmas 2008!" printed across the bottom. Niiiice.
In The Hills, visiting Santa is billed as "An Experience". We arrived at Somerset at 9:30 am Sunday morning and walked up to the castle to make our "Santa Appointment". First available: 4:42 pm. Mind you, this was on December 14th. So we went and did a bit of shopping before going back home.
When we arrived back at The Santa Castle we were greeting to a mob of toddlers, babies and older children running around in their holiday-wear like court jesters flinging oversized checkers at one another. Lily promptly joined in the fun and tried her best to procure as many checkers as she could get her little hands on, even if it meant stealing them from very stoic little boys in the midst of a serious checkers match.
When it was time for our appointment I rounded Lily up and approached the Santa counter, Santa Pass (yep, that's what its called, I kid you not) in hand. The people at the Santa counter have pretty much the most powerful job in all of Oakland county during the holidays (think bouncer at the most exclusive club in NYC). When my Santa Pass was verified, we were allowed into the holding pen to wait our turn with the jolly elf. The holding pen contained numerous velvet-clad benches arrayed in a semi-circle facing the stairs that led to Santa. We walked into the pen and sat down on the bench closest to the entrance. "Oh, no, you can't sit here" a young Maiden admonished. "You have to sit here" she said, pointing to another bench 6 inches away from the bench we had chosen. Good grief. We then had to switch benches 4 more times to ensure that we were in the proper order amongst the rest of the lucky chosen in the holding pen.
When we finally moved to the final waiting bench, I knelt down in front of Lily. "What are you going to tell Santa you want for Christmas?" I asked. "Ba-bies!" she yelled. "And a choo-choo train!" she added, nodding her head. Good, I thought. All that practice was about to pay off! Young Maiden approached the top of the stairs..."Now presenting, Princess Lily!" she squeaked. We walked up the stairs to Santa. At this point, Lily looked at Santa, looked at Husband, and clenched tight to his jacket, her faced beginning to crumple. Uh, oh. I thought, picturing a photographer's nightmare. Quickly, I said to Lily in my most cheerful voice "Look! Its Santa!!!!! Blow him a kiss!". She did, and the rest was a mad blur of flashes and smiles as she sat on his lap, gave him a hug, and told him what she wanted for Christmas.
When it was all over, I happily skipped down the steps and shelled out $30 for these beautiful pics. Santa in The Hills may be a gigantic pain in the ass, but seeing my angelic child's face in these pictures make it all worth it.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Lily's been going through a bout of separation anxiety the past couple of weeks. She hasn't been napping the past couple of days which makes it worse. She's extra weepy and hates any sub teacher at school. Every morning its "Mama! Mama! Lily's mama!" Even when I'm holding her its "Lily's mama!" Lily's mama!" (at least she has possessives down. And while I'm bragging she's also counting to 20 and singing the whole alphabet, frosty the snowman, rainbow connection, ring around the rosie, twinkle twinkle, and old macdonald. She also can finish any sentence of any book we've read her in the past month.) So while its nice to be loved, its also exhausting. Hopefully she'll be back to her happy, confident, independent self before I know it. I know one day she'll want nothing to do with me, and I'll look back on her clingy monkey phase with longing. Although today I think it'd be nice to just make a trip to the bathroom without a little one-person audience!
Friday, December 5, 2008
So somehow Husband and/or I have agreed to host numerous holiday engagements this month. I think many, if not all, of our "sure" "yeah" "why nots?" happened in September, when we were still delirious over our new house that is over 1000 square feet bigger than the old one. Suddenly, however, after we had 30 people over last weekend from Husband's bike racing team, and now that we are anxiously anticipating the arrival of countless staff members from my lovely elementary school tomorrow night, our super-big house isn't seeming so spacious. Then, as if that weren't enough, we also agreed to host Didu's entire extended family for Christmas in two weeks. As if adult parties weren't bad enough, that party will include "The Hellions", whom, admittedly, are over the foaming-at-the-mouth, propelling-one's-self-around-in circles-with-one's-feet-while-laying-on-the-floor, touching-every-painstakingly-decorated-sugar-cookie-with-grimy-hands stage, but who now are in the dyed-hair-in-the-face, black-nail polish-wearing, uber-tragic teenage stage. Just thinking about all of this makes me damn happy I've got a stocked liquor cabinet at home in anticipation of all of the impending merry-making that's about to occur. In the words of the underpaid angry department store Santa in The Christmas Story: "Ho....Ho.....Ho...."