Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Snowman

Here's a terrific Christmas story from DQ reader Johnathan Sullivan. Chloe 2.3 sounds very, very cool.

Chloe 2.3 is enjoying the first Christmas where she's fully engaged, really understands the holiday, and actually knows what's going on. We took her to an event at our local church called "Breakfast with Santa." Chloe 2.3 has a curious holiday-related brain fart where she identifies Santa Claus as "the Snowman" (not "Snowman" -- always "the Snowman"). On the morning of this particular event, however, she seemed to have it straightened out. Our dialogue went something like this:

"Daddy -- Chloe sit on Sanna's lap?"

"That's right."

"Canny cane?"


"Sanna Claus give Chloe a canny cane?"

"You know it. It's going to be awesome."

"Awesome! Deeee-licious" ("Deeee-licious" is her favorite word).

When we arrived, there were about fifty kids there, all of them jacked up on sugar and running around; Chloe joined the throng and my wife and I sat at a table where I could keep an eye on her (and, more importantly, throw down on any kids who messed with her). The hall was decked out with tinsel and lights, the kids were happy, and Bing Crosby was singing "White Christmas" in the background. All was right with the world.

Fifteen minutes later, all hell broke loose.

After an announcement, Santa made a triumphant entrance, to the cheers of kids and adults alike.

All but one. My daughter let loose the most bloodcurdling scream imaginable, crying and shaking. I've never seen her (or any kid) freak out this badly. She was absolutely horrified that this guy she'd previously seen only as a cartoon-shape had somehow been translated into a human form.

She looked around, saw me, and darted towards us, bowling over four or five smaller kids in an effort to get to us. When she got to me, she jumped into my arms, and I could feel her heart beating like a little piston. She was legitimately frightened.

Deanna (my wife) and I decided to get her out immediately (both for everyone else's benefit and our own). As we headed towards the door, though, Chloe (her head on my shoulder) said, "Chloe wanna talk to the Snowman. Don't leave."

We didn't really know what to do; we didn't want to make others uncomfortable, but she seemed like she was alright as long as I was holding her. So I carefully approached Santa (the poor guy looked pretty upset, because obviously Chloe's reaction wasn't part of his Christmas plan). When we got within ten feet of him, Chloe asked me to put her down, and I did.

She edged towards Santa, the two of them eying each other warily. She was moving with the shambling gait usually reserved for lion tamers at work. When she had reached what she seemed to assume was an appropriate distance (probably half a foot from the now-sitting Santa), she looked back at me. I nodded reassuringly.

She looked back at Santa. With slow deliberateness, she raised her hand and extended an accusatory finger, and enunciated perfectly:

Santa held out a candy cane. She snatched it and said:

"The Snowman scared Chloe. SPANKING AND GO TO BED!" And then she backed up towards me, always keeping Santa in front of her.

We didn't hang around for the picture.

Site Meter