Impromptu mall photo shoot with Santa

So today after I arrived home from work, Mark’s mom wanted to go shopping at Maurice’s at the mall, so I thought this sounded great. We got there without issue with the exception of me having to google an instructional video on how to fold up the BOB stroller, because I’d forgotten. (Mark is a beast and normally just carries this ginormous baby everywhere we go, so we rarely haul along the stroller.)

When we arrived at Maurice’s, Mark’s mom started looking at clothes, and Joel got fussy, so I took him outside the store, and BAM – there was Santa. Right there in front of us. And there wasn’t a single soul in line.

So I hurried back into Maurice’s and was like, “Sharon – there’s a Santa. I’m going to take Joel, because there’s no line.”

And one of the Maurice’s employees was like, “Yeah – there’s usually a line of like 700 people, so now would be a good time.”

So this reaffirmed my decision to leave Mark out of Joel’s first Santa experience (we skipped it last year), because neither of us would ever wait in such a line, but Joel’s only 16 months old on Christmas once, so I figured this was my golden opportunity.

So Sharon, Joel, and I headed back over to Santa to start our overpriced photo shoot, and, let me tell you, the results are some for the Awkward Family Photos record books, for probably a few reasons…

First, I think a standard baby’s first picture with Santa, if it even included people other than baby himself, would generally include mom and dad, but instead it’s Santa, Joel, Sharon, and me, so Sharon and I basically look like short-haired sister wives, but she and I are essentially co-parenting Joel and co-managing the household during the week (Mark’s been slammed at work lately), so I guess this is fitting.

Second, Joel’s finger is in my cleavage.

Third, Santa and Sharon are really the only ones dressed for Christmas. Joel and I look like we just sauntered in off the street, which we did…

Fourth, we kind of look stiff… It’s because when I walked up to Santa, he was worried Joel (based on his age) would cry, so he told me to get in the picture with them, and he extended his right thigh, inviting me to sit on it while holding Joel. And though it isn’t necessarily always my natural tendency to immediately assume that everyone’s a pervert, I kind of froze in this moment, and all I could think of was Matt Lauer (who I read about this morning) and the 180 some Massage Envy customers who were either groped or penetrated, or both (a story I read about last night). I mean, one would surmise that a mall would be safer than a private room in a massage parlor, but who can really be certain?

So for several long seconds I stood in contemplation like, “His thigh is short, and my ass is long, and I don’t really want to sit on his crotch… Or be groped, necessitating me being the next guest on Megyn Kelly TODAY…”

So finally I sat with Joel on the bench, like three feet away from Santa. And he looked at me like, “What is WRONG with you?!”

But then Sharon walked up. (She was busy being scolded by one of the photographers for having her phone out, intending to take her own pictures.) And Santa extended his other leg for her (so he was spread eagle at this point) and invited her to sit down, and Sharon’s much friendlier than I, and, also, she’s not strangely suspicious of everyone, so she plopped right down on his left leg.

So then, once I realized that all seemed okay, I reluctantly moved to Santa’s right leg.

The photographer’s personality was the opposite of captivating, and she was holding some lame orange squeaker dog toy, so Joel wouldn’t even look at her, let alone smile, so Sharon was yelling and making animal sounds, so Joel only wanted to look at Sharon, and then the photographer was like, “BE QUIET – I need him to look at ME.”

So we finally got a couple of photos with Joel looking at the photographer, and here’s one of them…


Then Santa and the staff suggested we do a “plop and pray” (basically plop Joel down with Santa and pray that he smiles). So we plopped Joel down with Santa, and he didn’t smile. In fact, he screamed so loud that someone asked, “Does he always scream this loud?”


Tomorrow’s Mark’s birthday, and he hasn’t seen these photographs yet, so I hope he considers them a special treat.

8 thoughts on “Impromptu mall photo shoot with Santa

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