Other than one visit to the eye doctor’s office last week (G got a clean bill of health), the wife has been G’s only parent to bring her to the pediatrician’s office whenever to date. My excuse is that I have a really hard time seeing G bawl. Not to suggest that the wife endures G’s crying any easier than me, but she is apparently better at accepting those necessary evils like shots – or going to the mall during Christmas simply to fulfill the sadistic parent’s rite of passage.
You all know what I’m talking about you evil moms and dads – your child’s first traumatic encounter with the mall Santa Claus just for photographic evidence of your torture. For us kids of the 1970’s, those moments of terror were captured on Polaroids in eerie tones of white, green, and severe red eye. Perhaps you wore Star Trek-like one-piece outfits that matched with any siblings (you got paisley brown, brother/sister got mustard yellow) already born. Nowadays, some of those torturous moments are preserved eternally on memory cards in a digital state of high-definition.
Sometime during a winter college break in the 90’s, I experienced Christmas at the mall from the other side. That’s right. I got a gig temping as a mall Santa. Fake beard. Fake belly. Ho ho ho’s. The works. Bedford Mall. Next to the movie theater and across from the Post Office and Papa Gino’s. $7.00 per hour. What can I say, it was decent cash.
What you might not expect was that I was traumatized all over again playing the role of the tormenter. At least once per hour, a little one peed on my leg while screaming hysterically as parents blindly trudged forward yelling at my co-worker to continue snapping shots. Older kids challenged my North Pole cred by calling me out for the high tone of my voice. The fake beard obstructed my exhalations to the point that condensation saturated my moustache like Freddy Mercury’s in the 1980’s.
One bright spot was a naughty 30-something year-old who sat on my lap with her co-workers and whispered welcomingly inappropriate comments into my ear. Unfortunately, as a 20 year-old, I had no idea how to tame this budding cougar and just hiccupped some very unwitty response to her sultry provocations.
Anyway, back at the 2009 Hall of Justice, I suppose the token Santa visit and photo is the first in many “it builds character” moments for our poor children. For those of you who are either conspirators or bystanders to this potentially scarring experience, be sure to tip your Santas.
As for G, the wife fulfilled tradition and accompanied our daughter to her first encounter with Santa. I’ll let you decide how she felt about it. Check out the photo to your right.