Monday, November 29, 2010

Why I Know the Mall of America Santa is the Real Santa

He is adorable!

No, that's not it. He's all things a Santa should be. He's jolly and friendly, great with kids, rosy cheeked with a twinkle in his eye. But there's more. When he is with your kids, talking to them and talking to you, you can tell that he knows he is Santa.

There's also the odd fact that in all the years I've seen him at the Mall, it doesn't seem like he's aged a day.

But here's why I know he is the real Santa Claus.  Last year Santa made me cry - in a good way.

We have taken the kids to see Santa almost every year. At the Mall of America Santa is very popular, so you have to make an appointment to visit, which works out nicely because then you don't end up waiting in line very long. Still, waiting even a few minutes is hard for Fragile X kids. (FX and autism moms, let's all nod together.....)

So we waited and we saw Santa. He's in a little cubicle area so you can only see him as you round the corner, after waiting in a short line. It's crowded with books, toys, a Christmas tree, a big puffy chair for Santa to sit in, and it is brightly lit as there are elves and helpers who take pictures and video, while you and your children visit with Santa.

Aliza talked to him first while we worked on getting the boys to at least sit down next to Santa's big puffy chair. Santa got down on the floor then and talked to the boys, tried to ask their names, but they were anxious and upset and wanted nothing to do with him.  I sat down with them so they wouldn't take off.  AJ tugged on his beard a bit, but mostly he just wanted to leave.

Santa asked AJ what he wanted for Christmas, and I told Santa the boys were nonverbal (which they were more or less, a year ago) but that Aliza was going to tell him what her brothers wanted.  She was very starstruck, but she managed to remember to say they wanted a train.


Anyway when our Santa Experience was over, we struggled with ferociously overstimulated boys, getting them settled back down in the stroller so Mark could take them for a walk through the mall and calm them down. This took several minutes, during which time Aliza stood by waiting for us. This is nothing new for her. But Santa saw her watching, and waiting.  While I was strapping one of the boys down in the stroller I glanced back, and she was back sitting on Santa's lap.  It looked like they were having an intent conversation.

Once we got the boys settled, we headed out to the lobby to look at our pictures and see if any of them turned out at all. Mark and I were pretty stressed over how uncooperative the boys were -- well, at least I was. The whole time they were yelling and struggling to get away and I was struggling to hold them down and comfort them, I was very conscious of everyone else watching us.



A few moments later, Mark had taken the boys out into the mall hallway to walk them and Aliza and I were at the counter to pay for our pictures. I looked back to make sure Aliza was right behind me, and saw that Santa had come out of his little cubicle and was standing there with one arm around her, bent over, talking to her as if he was telling her a big secret. Her eyes were like saucers. Then Santa looked up at me and smiled and said "She's a good helper, isn't she? She's a very good big sister."

He looked so out of place out there in the lobby -- it's all regular people out there, hustling and bustling, and he's such a huge, colorful, shining character.....and he came out especially to talk to Aliza. I said "she sure is a good girl."

And I was so touched at how he came out of his designated Santa-area just to talk to her and let her know how special she was, that I nearly bawled. And now, a year later, I nearly bawl just telling the story. She asked for an American Girl doll last year, and I wanted to buy her a bunch of them.  I wanted her to get everything she told Santa she wanted, tenfold.


He is the real Santa.  Aliza knows it too.

8 comments:

Faydra said...

this certainly got my tears flowing - what a special Santa!

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

That was just beautiful. What a great guy he is.

A couple of years ago there was a Santa at the BV Center and he was amazing. He just loved being Santa and he took the time and was so sincere.

We would see him shopping there in the non-Santa months and kids just flocked to him and he was so JOLLY even in the summer! He was magical.

Now there is another guy. Hmpf.

I made the mistake of saying one year when my favorite Santa wasn't there, "Oh the bad Santa is here" and I thought Emily was going to die! I had to explain that there are a ton of other Santas because the "real" one was busy making toys.

Whew.

Rachael said...

I believe in Santa!

Anonymous said...

Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…

Holly's Mom said...

Made me cry to read it too!

Anonymous said...

Really like the graphical design and navigation of the site, easy on the eyes and good content. other sites are just way too overflowing with adds.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderful post.Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer.

Anonymous said...

I just added your feed to my favorites. I really enjoy reading your posts.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Labels

#youmightbeanautismparentif 2012 in review 9/11 memories ABA therapy Acceptance acronyms advocacy affection aggression AJ Aliza Aliza the playwright All I really need to know... Alphabitty Moments American Girl Ann Coulter antibullying anxiety anxiety in parents of children with special needs apple orchard apps for autism AppSmitten Arbaclofen Arbitrary Thoughts ARC autism autism brushing autism portrayed in TV shows Autism Shines awareness backyard band baseball bath toys beds behavior problems being tall Birthday Boys biting blog change blog hop blogging books bottles brushing bubbles Burnsville Fire Muster bus Cabin Fever in Minnesota candy Carly Fleischmann Carly's Voice cats cats and dogs chewys Chicago childcare for special needs children childhood Children's Museum chocolate Christmas Church circumin clinical trials Clonidine CNN Hero of 2011 coffee communication comparisons computer Conference cost of special education Courage Center Curcumin daddy dance dance competition dance moms Dental surgery dentist developmental milestones diagnosis diapers Diego Disability Day dogs Dolphin Tale Doomsday Preparation Dora Doritos drug trials DVD player early intervention earrings Easter ECSE Parent Retreat electronic gadgets electronics Everything I need to know... Evil Overlord fall falling asleep at school families family fashion fear Featured Feel Good Friday field trip fireworks first day of school Flash Gordon Food Chronicles food issues in Fragile X and autistic children forms forts Fragile Face of God Fragile X Fragile X advocate Fragile X and autism Fragile X Awareness Day Fragile X carriers Fragile X in the news Fragile X presentation Fragile X statistics Fragile X Writers friends fundraiser for Fragile X funniest Funny Gabrielle Giffords Galveston games getting carsick Girls' Night Out Giving Spirit glasses global warming going home Good Morning Great Quotes guest blogs guest post haircuts Halloween hearing test Heaven is for Real hippotherapy holidays Holland Holly home life homework hotel hugging human behavior hyperactivity IEP Meeting IEPs in the news inclusion inspiration integration iPad iPad apps iPad apps for autism IQ testing Jack Jablonski January First Joke journal entry kids with Fragile X and animals Kindergarten Kindle kisses language study learning to talk leaves lemonade stand Lily Little Einsteins losing teeth Mad Gab makeup mall Mall of America marcia braden McDonalds media sensationalization medications Melatonin Miami MIND Institute Minnesota Bloggers Conference minocycline Miracle League monkeys mosquito bites Mother's Day movies MVMOM Used Clothing and Equipment Sale nail trimming names naughtiness neighbors nicknames nightmares normal off topic one thing leads to another online dating Operation Beautiful oral sensory orphan drug act other bloggers Our Wedding outside overstimulation panic attacks parade parental stress Parenthood park Partners in Policymaking penicillin people with disabilities pets pharmacy fun photography Photoshop picnic Pictures pinching pink shirt Pinterest playing outside playing with toys poem politics poop potty training Presents protecting autistic children rash reading to kids research Retreat riding a bike Robin Williams Roger Ebert routine RSS feed RUSH University San Diego Sandy Hook Elementary Santa schedules school school bus school notes school pictures screaming self image self-checkouts sensory Seroquel siblings with developmental delays sick kids sippy cups sleep smile snow pictures Snowstorm social situations speaking of the unspeakable special education special education evaluation special needs kids special needs parents Special Needs Ryan Gosling Special Olympics spelling spoon feeding spring break staying positive stimming Strep STX209 Stylish Blog Award suicide summer Sunday School Sundays sunshine survival mode swimming talking talking to kindergarteners Target teacher's aides Teeth brushing Tegretol Temple Grandin Ten Commandments textbook case of Fragile X thankful thanksgiving that window/mirror thing The Autism Store The R Word the rapid passage of time The Right Things to say to parents of special needs children The Santa Experience the Shedd Aquarium The Twin Thing The Wiggles therapeutic horseback riding therapy This is Autism topless trampoline traveling with special needs children TV twins with special needs Twitter typical Fragile X characteristics typical kids typing vacation Vacation Bible School video games videos volunteering Waisman Center water play way-back-Wednesday What I've Learned What's your song? when a special needs parent dies Wiggles Wii games Winner Winner Chicken Dinner winter wonder Wonder Pets Wordful Wednesday Wordless Wednesday Words of Wisdom World Autism Awareness Day YMCA You Tube Zack Zoloft zoo animals

Fragile X Blogs