Member Musings: A Time-Honored Tradition of … Torture?


Every year some of us line up our toddlers to sit on a stranger’s lap and are surprised when they react with anything less than joy. Well, okay, maybe we’re not totally surprised. Maybe a small part of us even expects it. And maybe, just maybe, we think it’s a sort of rite of passage and we find the crying Santa photos just a little bit funny, in spite of the short-term trauma they may inflict.

I was one of those parents this past holiday. Last year my son, Alex, was only 8 months old – the perfect age to go happily along with whatever, including the odd tradition of cozying up to a strange man in fuzzy red suit. So, to be fair, I wasn’t positive that he wouldn’t handle it with the same aplomb this year, even though developmentally, at 20 months, he was much less likely to take it in his stride. He is a pretty easygoing kid and very social. Well, guess what? He didn’t.

We got there early. We were in the front of the line. I decided to let a family with slightly older and younger kids go first (a family safely before and after the age of being terrorized by the white-haired man). I figured if Alex could witness their successful visit, he would be more comfortable with his own. That lasted for about 30 seconds. No sooner had he sat on Santa’s lap than he scrunched up his face, opened his mouth and let out a fairly clear squawk of protest. He didn’t actually cry. But he did try to jettison his little rigid body right off Santa’s lap and his adamant vocal protests made it clear that he was not, shall we say, in his happy place.

But call me just a little bit evil, the photo is pretty amusing.


Fearsome Kitty is a single mom who nurtures her creative good intentions by spending too much time on Pinterest and too much money at Michael’s.

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