We've all seen the lines winding and looping through the mall to meet Santa. I've been part of these lines in the past, and they are a thing to behold, let me tell you. I've observed that there are generally three types of children in these crowds no matter how many people are crammed together. Let's examine these three personalities, shall we?
1. The goody two shoes.
This is the little girl or boy who is dressed to the nines, decked out in Christmas gear from head to toe. If a girl, then the Christmas bow on top of her head is absolutely perfectly aligned with the part in her hair and fluffed to perfection. Even her nails are painted and she may even have a tiny bit of glitter on her cheeks. She is standing perfectly still, perfectly quiet, perfectly....let's be honest....creepily.
I mean, what did these parents have to do to this poor kid to get her to display manners better than Emily Post? I am seriously moved to question them and glean from their admirable wisdom. Every kid has a siren, something they cannot resist. What was it, I wonder? The promise of a new puppy? A tiny bit too much Benadryl? A wild shopping spree through the toy store as soon as they're finished with the Santa line?
I don't know. I haven't found that magic temptress yet for my girls. It's like the holy grail.
All I know is that it's just not normal for a young child to stand in a line perfectly and absolutely quiet and patient. Downright weird.
2. Next, we have the taste tester child.
You've seen this one, I'm sure. And I can show enough humility to admit that this has been MY kid before. This is the child who just cannot seem to resist the temptation to lick EVERYTHING around him, no matter what it is or how it smells or where it's located. I have stood in line and seen a child literally licking the ropes used to divide the lines and guide the crowds. Yep. Just licked them all the way down the line while his parents shot impatient glares at the goody two shoes kid taking too much time with Santa.
This licking thing can be a problem. I mean, really, I've considered the pros and cons of allowing my children to keep their pacifiers thru high school graduation for this very reason. If they have something in their mouth, they will be less prone to explore the world around them using only their sense of taste.
Anyway, the licking kid is just gross. You might want to remember that the next time you pick up the salt and pepper shaker at your local restaurant. I don't want to incriminate anyone, but I do have certain offspring (2 out of 3) who have indeed licked the tops of the shakers. All that salt's not good for you, anyway, just skip it. Trust me on this one.
3. And finally, we have the more "expressive" child.
Oh, yeah. We've all seen this one, and unfortunately almost all of us (if you're honest) have been the parent of this child at one time or another.
This is the child who just doesn't give a darn about seeing Santa. "Wait a minute. You want ME to stand here and WAIT thru this ridiculous long line just so I can sit in a stranger's lap who is wearing a red leisure suit and has a cotton ball beard? AND you expect me to be GOOD during the 45 minute wait? Surely you jest."
I have to say, sometimes the parents of this kid need to take a moment for some perspective. Perhaps THEY should sit in Santa's lap if it's so important to them. For Pete's sake, if your kid doesn't want to do it, woohoo!!! You just saved yourself about an hour and $60 for a tacky 5x7 of your child looking furious sitting on a bored, smoker's cough and voiced Santa.
And yet, people continue to make us all miserable in the Santa line by forcing their child to stay in the line. The kid repeatedly attempts to escape by crawling under people's legs, wandering to stand with other people's families, and sometimes breaking into an all out run across the mall. The poor parents try to coax little Julianna to cooperate and promise her Santa will give her a candy cane, but it's to no avail. Finally, Julianna's had enough. It's time to pull out the big guns. It's time for the major tantrum showdown right there in the crowd.
This little darling finally arrives at the front of the line. Hair frayed and sticking out everywhere, dress rumpled, tear-stained and splotchy cheeks, to see Santa.
I can't help but notice Santa rolls his eyes ever so slightly, do a little yoga relaxation breathing, and checks his watch before welcoming the sweet child onto his lap.
And so, readers, this is the mystery of the Santa line. Perhaps we should discuss the three types of parents in the Santa line next time. There will be a quiz.