Yes, it is!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Santaphobia

I took Ben to playgroup on Wednesday where Santa was scheduled to pay a visit. All was well until Santa walked in the door. I was holding Ben and as Santa came closer, I noticed Ben's lower lip gradually start to pucker out until he finally broke out with a fearful cry. Santa sat down and I moved closer to him so that Ben could watch the other kids sit in Santa's lap with the hope that Ben would become less afraid. He watched, but not with cheer. I finally said, "Let's go see Santa, Ben" and I sat Ben in Santa's lap. As you can see, Ben was not happy. But we got a picture for the memory book. After Santa was done visiting the playgroup, he walked with me over to Jackie's classroom where the kids greeted Santa with glee. Except for a couple of the kids, Jackie being one of them. She saw me and whimpered. After seeing the other kids become so excited about Santa's presence, Jackie did start to warm up to him and out of the corner of my eye, I caught her stroking the fur around the bottom of his suit sleeve. Cute! Santa wanted to read a book to the class and Jackie chose one for him to read. By the end of his visit, Jackie shook his hand but she still cautiously kept a little distance between her body and his. She has gotten so much better this year, thank God. I have had some embarrassing moments with her in regard to characters. I was reminded of an incident that happened last year which I will share in a moment.
I have yet to get a picture of Jackie sitting in Santa's lap, crying or not. I do have a picture of her with Mrs. Claus holding Jackie and they're standing behind Santa. There was no crying but Jackie was eyeing Santa with the evil eye of hers. Fast forward another year when she was two years old. We took the Metrolink over to the St. Louis USO where they set up for a Christmas function for the military children. So all was well until we started walking toward the back of a room where Ronald McDonald was sitting. Jackie saw him and started pointing and giggling and she gave me no indication of any fear whatsoever. As we got a little closer, Ronald started to speak and that is where the trauma began. Jackie screamed bloody murder and all eyes turned toward me. Jackie was choking me and trying to claw her way into me. Poor Ronald fumbled with the little toy he was going to hand to Jackie and I profusely apologized and then Ronald tossed the toy to me to give to Jackie. Jackie was having none of it. We quickly ducked out there. When it was time to see Santa, I thought since he did not have all that face paint, Jackie would be okay there. Well, all was not well there either. And all was not well until recently. If we were out in public and Jackie saw anybody even resembling Santa, she screamed. If we walked into a McDonald's that had a Ronald figure, she screamed and would not walk past it. The most embarrassing incident happened last year when I went to have my fingerprints taken for a teaching job. As my fingerprints were being taken, Jackie was standing next to me. All of a sudden, I heard her scream and she ran from me and backed herself into a corner. I looked up and there was a man who did look very much like Santa; hair, belly, and all. For a moment, Jackie stopped screaming but she was frozen and she still had that look of terror on her face. Then she started to scream again. I started to apologize profusely and he said to not worry and that it was not the first time and then he quickly left the room. A couple of the female employees brought candy to Jackie to try to help me calm her but she was not going to budge from that corner. It was not until we finally got out the door that I realized why Jackie stopped screaming for a moment. It appears that this Santa look-alike literally scared the mess out of her. It has only been recently that Jackie has become less afraid although still cautious. So I promised that I would get her one. Well, she does not forget anything. If you say you're going to do something, you better carry it out. So, yesterday afternoon (Thursday), as soon as she got home from school, the first words out of her mouth were "Where's my Santa hat." She absolutely loves it and wore it to school this morning where she wore it the entire time. It does look cute on her.
On Wednesday evening, all of us went with a group from church to sing Christmas carols at a local nursing home. It was so touching to see how much the residents enjoyed the music. A couple of people in our group were wearing Santa hats and Jackie insisted that she wanted one.
I baked most of the day yesterday to give baked goods to Jackie's teachers, therapists, and a couple of friends. Jackie made picture frames for her teacher and her assistant and she also made bookmarks for them as well as her therapists at school. She did a wonderful job on them. Jackie had a Christmas party at school today and she brought Christmas cupcakes and cookies to share. There were little games set up with a Christmas theme and all the kids excitedly opened their presents from their teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Wafer and Ms. Lisa, for the cute book and the candy. Jackie also brought home her ornaments that she made in class.

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