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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

Bad Santa

My one regret as a parent (Oh, ok, I have a gazillion regrets, but this one particular one wasn’t my fault!), and that is that my two sons never got their picture taken with Santa. We tried but failed miserably. It happened that my first son was born on the 10th of December – a little too young for a picture with Santa, mainly because as a new mother, I was NOT going to let just anyone hold my brand new baby. Not even a jolly old saint of a man, wearing red pajamas and ho-hoing loudly, giggling his large belly. No way.

We settled for dressing the baby in a Santa outfit and placing him under the tree for endless adorable pictures.
When my son was one year old, I figured now was the time. I bathed him, powdered him, lotioned him, dressed him in a new outfit, just for the occasion, and set off for Santa who happened to be sitting in repose at Newberries in Val d’Or Quebec, where my husband was stationed in the Air force. And, yes, this little French Canadian village boasted a Newberries – right out of downtown Spokane, Washington – seemingly. I was looking forward to some English speaking Santa and elves.
We got there, all polished and shining and stood in line for eternity waiting for our chance. So, I don’t know if it was time for a bottle, or time for a new diaper, or time for a nap – I know I needed a nap, and fairly certain my one-year-old needed a nap, and possibly for sure Santa needed a nap too. It was finally our turn, and I started toward the great man of my childhood, so excited! And then suddenly I could feel my son tense in my arms, he took one look at Santa and then slowly held his breath. His face turned red, and then his nose crinkled up, his eyes clenched close, he then made a humming noise, opened his mouth, and WAILED. He sounded like a siren on a careening ambulance, going down for the crash. Arms flaying, legs wagging, lungs screaming. 
I took a hasty retreat down the hallway, leaving my $10 behind me – knowing that this child would NEVER sit on Santa’s lap. 
When I had my second son the following April, I practiced letting him sit on people’s laps, getting used to it before the big day in December. Only now I had two of them and no matter how much I “rehearsed” the picture-taking moment – we had a repeat, down to the last whimper, of the Christmas fiasco of the year before.  Times two!
I just noticed a contest called “Santa Makes Me Pee My Pants A Little” for pictures of those precious moments when our children are flat out terrorized by Santa. I would offer up pictures of my two little ones – but it never happened! And now, the oldest just turned 40 on Monday, I think I’ve lost my chance.

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.