Monday, December 19, 2011

scary santa...

this year, patty really wanted to get a picture of beatrice with santa claus.  saturday at the farmers market, a preschool that is on our list of favorites called cottage enrichment, was doing a fundraiser by taking santa pictures.  win-win!  we get to donate to a great preschool, support our community and avoid the mall!  hooray....well, not so much.  beatrice was not having it.  since we hang out at the farmers market, we let her watch a few other kids get their picture taken, so she could see what it was all about...she just watched, wide-eyed as kids eagerly bounded up to santa to tell him their wishes.  there was a set of sisters, maybe five and three, and the three year old was a little scared.  her big sister held her hand and the photographer and her parents made her laugh.  crisis averted...no tears...

when it was our turn, we went up to santa and beatrice held on to me for dear life, so we decided to sit with her to see if she was ok with it.  before we even sat down, the photographers played with her for a little bit and got a few smiles out of her...so we thought let's try it!  well, sure enough, she started crying...lots of folks were trying to make her smile, including us {hence the silly, happy faces we are making...}.  but in the end, it was just too much.

usually, beatrice isn't afraid of anything.  in fact, she really doesn't have "stranger danger," and it almost concerns me, as i would like for her to have a healthy weariness of strangers.  she's also been in the presence of yo gabba gabba characters twice and it didn't faze her at all...so we were a little surprised that santa was what scared her...

and although this is one of those holiday traditions we hope our kids enjoy, i want to respect beatrice and not force things on her.  she's her own person and i respect her cues.  did i cross the line with the santa pictures?  did i ignore her cues and disrespect her by trying to get the picture for us and the grandparents?  maybe, yes...

patty has been taking beatrice to a RIE playgroup, and while i don't subscribe to every tenant of that philosophy, i love their emphasis on respecting the child and having patience with them and respecting their learning path. so while we got the picture, maybe this isn't one of my shining parenting moments...and that's ok. live and learn...i know i'm bound to make many mistakes...

but this has definitely got me thinking about the whole notion of santa.  i feel very strongly about not lying to beatrice, but i also really want her to cultivate a sense of wonder, imagination and magic.  and these holiday traditions can do that...obviously, beatrice is too young now to understand the magic of santa... but stories like santa and other fairy tales allow for that.  but if santa is not something she buys into, i want to respect that and allow her to find magic in her own way.

so...will our family celebrate santa?  we'll see, only time will tell...but, honestly, i would really love to avoid the dark side that santa inspires: the consumerism, the frantic feelings and the "gimme" attitude...in fact, usually over the holidays i tell family and friends to donate to my favorite charity rather than buying me a gift...and every year, we usually donate toys to children's hospital and try to give back in other ways, like making lunches for the homeless on christmas day.  does it have to be either/or?  no, i think we can have fun with santa but also cultivate a sense of helping and giving back, too...

maybe we'll create our own holiday family tradition that is fun and magical and inspires beatrice to donate her time to others and be grateful for what she has...something involving fairies?!

3 comments:

east side bride said...

fuck santa

bea is too cool for that shit

chibiaion said...

Even so, shes still the sweetest girl ever. Another year would really make her more comfortable with santa. :D
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West Philly Mama said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. I think the fact that you held her the whole time makes it really different than those pictures of kids alone on a strange man's lap as they scream. I'm sure you didn't let her get too distressed - and the picture looks adorable - not neglectful, like some out there!