The other night we took advantage of a no-longer-so-unusual luxury -- an evening with no special plans. We decided to go to a local mall and see a display of gingerbread houses. As we bundled up, I remembered that this mall had advertised a take-your-own-photos Santa, so I slipped a camera into my purse, even though a Santa sitting would be a major departure for both girls. (See Here Comes Santa Claus from December 2008 for the backstory on why.)
I think that Joy maybe actually looked at the gingerbread creations this year, a new development. She was more interested, however, in peering into the shops and looking up for ceiling fans. Each time she found one, she made sure to tell us: fan! OK, actually she kind of leaves off the "n"... but did you catch that? She actually told us!
We spent quite a few minutes hunkered down in front of one particular store window, where there were two mechanical toys. One was a skating rink where little figurines circled the ice in pre-ordained patterns; the other was a sledding hill on which the same two sleds appeared again and again and again. Though we've never owned any such thing, these toys were like old friends -- they appear on the Baby Bach Baby Einstein video, one of the first Baby Einsteins we acquired when Rose was a wee thing! Long, long we sat and watched, with occasional glances up at the store ceiling, where spun (oh bliss, oh Joy!) a ceiling fan.
The Santa-sitting mishaps of Rose's early years in the aforementioned post happened at this very mall as well, but all these years later they now have a different Santa and a different setup. He was sitting out in the open, next to a 20-foot-high gingerbread house, all twinkly and smiling with a small bench at his knee where children could pose rather than actually having to climb into his lap. Not a soul in line, we could walk right up to him! Rose put on a mild pre-teen-ish protest, too old for all this, but to my surprise she then actually sat on the little bench and pasted on a smile for the photo, earning herself a little candy cane and coloring book.
Then it was Joy's turn, the girl with whom we had never even attempted a Santa visit. The girl who has two new relevant words that she didn't have before -- "Picture," at which she will sometimes actually mug for the camera, and "Santa" which is very familiar from the Baby Santa Baby Einstein video (and also sounds like "panda" which is one of the funniest words in the world.)
So we said "Santa" and she sat on the bench! We said "picture" and she looked at the camera! And she smiled!
And just as JoyDad was taking the shot, she opened her mouth wide and lifted one finger to point out where she'd lost a tooth earlier that day.
Her middle finger.
I guess there's always next year. Ho, ho, ho!