Last night we attended the holiday party at Michael and Sophie's child care center for the second year. The center provides dinner, pictures with Santa, crafts, and performances by the kids.
Above are the Rudolph ornaments the kids made (clearly with a lot of help from their teachers) and gave to us as gifts. They're shatter-proof and adorable, a great little project one could even do at home with older kids.
Another cute idea I saw there was a large, cut-out paper Christmas tree on the classroom wall that the toddlers "decorated" with stick-on Christmas wrapping bows as one of the party activities. Their teacher could hardly remove the backing from each ribbon fast enough, the kids enjoyed this so much. One of those might pop up on the playroom wall at home over the next few days.
As we stood in line to meet the big guy, Sophie spotted Santa's face on a poster, smiled, and said his name clearly for the first time. We've been pointing out pictures of Santa, talking about sitting with him with excitement in our voices, but every time we've asked the kids if they wanted to see him, they clearly said, "No." Every time. Our hopes weren't very high, but we continued trying to psyche the kids up as we made our way up the line, directing their attention to happy preschoolers on Santa's lap joyfully listing their Christmas wishes.
But our efforts did no good. Michael clutched my sweater and squeezed my waist with his knees as we made the final approach. He let out a whimper, and we knodded to Santa and the teacher-photographer to take a standing-up family portrait. Even that elicited a terror that I have never seen on my children's faces. As Sophie caught a glimpse of Santa over Mike's shoulder, her face twitched and contorted, and she squirmed to get away, presumably thinking Santa planned to eat her for dinner along with the organic green beans and whole wheat mostacolli.
Last year's picture is of Sophie and Michael stoically tolerating their moment on Santa's lap, but we're now yet another family with a kid-screams-at-Santa photo, not even one that's so bad it's funny.
Now for the famous last words: maybe next year!