Checking out the ducks and the turtles.
The way it works at NorthPark is this - they give you a number and tell you an approximate time to come back to cue up. Once you are cued up, your wait is only about fifteen minutes. They start handing out numbers at 9am and Santa starts seeing patients at 11am. If you come back and they have passed your number, you get right into line. So, this takes the horribleness out of waiting in line for Santa. It lets you shop or whatever you want to do. Genius on the mall's part, except that it isn't really spelled out clearly on their website. I learned the drill from my SIL Kim, of which I am thankful for the LD.
Anyway, LM took an early morning nap and we headed to the mall when he woke up. That meant we picked up our number at 9:45. We were number 49, and told to come back at 12:15 - so I figure they run about forty kids through in an hour. Pretty good! Santa tells a story to the kids at 10:30. So, we headed over to the "sliding wall" and the ducks and the turtles first to kill some time and let the boy burn off some steam.
Kids just know how to do this.
There is no teaching necessary.
And so fun!
Whatchu talkin' bout Mama?
Holy smokes! A smile!
I think what was drawing his attention was the man in the wheelchair ringing the bell.
OK, onto story time with Santa
When it was about 10:30, we headed back to hear Santa tell his tale. I was pretty sure LM wouldn't be that interested in the story, but I figured it would be worth it to attend so he could SEE Santa before meeting him to sit on his lap. I don't know if this mattered, but we did it, so that's the story I'm a tellin'.
Gathering for Santa's entrance
So, I pulled up with the stroller in the back. I figured LM could sit in the stroller at the back and see. But he wanted out. But he sat on the ground right next to me (photo up there), so I figured we were good...but then, right as Santa was making his entrance, he skeedaddled all the way up to the front with the "big kids" as seen in that photo...and there was really no way for me to get to him - there were kids and parents with kids on laps, etc between me and him, and well, here came the Big Guy in the Red Suit.
Yep, there he is, up there in the thick of things!
He sat down and listened for a while (the brown head behind the red sweater).
But he quickly lost interest...
...and started to wander.
He really probably wasn't in anyone's way - he's short, and Santa was nice and tall. But, I could just see him grabbing someone's cracker or something and making a scene. So, I just watched him intently, as he paced back and forth, at the front of Santa story time. And then, a Dad about halfway back with a child on his lap decided to exit. I used the patch created by his departure to swoop in and pick up my child. While all the other mothers thought to themselves, "amateur". Yes, indeed. I am.
Then Daddy met us and we took in the train exhibit!
No idea what Daddy's pointing to, but the boy was intent on something else.
I'll show you more train photos tomorrow. Because this post is getting long.
After the trains we ate lunch at the Mermaid Bar, where for the first time ever, I paid with a MASTERCARD! It was always a "thing" when we'd go there because you had to have cashola or a Neiman's card. But, as of November 1, they have decided to let the commoners shop. How nice of them. The food was great, the boy loved his pasta and cheese, and we headed to the cue.
Once you're allowed to get in line, it's a short wait.
There were probably six people - maybe seven - in front of us once we were in line. That in the background of the photo is the back of Santa's house.
The boy was getting tired, though.
I had hoped to get a time in the eleven o'clock hour. We had one after noon - dangerously close to nap time. We didn't know if he would react favorably to Santa at any time of day, but a sleepy boy didn't bode well either...so we waited to see what would happen.
I was thinking about what we might do to help things go better, and I got to thinking about visiting our relatives in Indiana. When we get there, LM warms up fairly quickly to them, I think, because WE know them, are glad to see them, and jump right into the action with them. Of course, when he's older, he'll do that on his own. But, for now, he looks for our cues. So, when we went around the corner into Santa's little house, we both said, "HI Santa!" as if we were so glad to see this long lost friend. Again, I have no idea whether it helped. But, it didn't hurt, I guess, because we got THIS shot:
A smiling, happy boy!
Merry Christmas to you!
So, all in all, it was a really pleasant little outing with the family. LM was out cold before we left the parking lot - we wore him out! And, we got a little Christmas memory. It was great.
See you soon.