Monday, November 29, 2010
Why I Know the Mall of America Santa is the Real Santa
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.
#youmightbeanautismparentif (1) 2012 in review (1) 9/11 memories (1) ABA therapy (8) Acceptance (5) acronyms (1) advocacy (1) affection (1) aggression (8) AJ (11) Aliza (20) Aliza the playwright (1) All I really need to know... (1) Alphabitty Moments (1) American Girl (2) Ann Coulter (1) antibullying (1) anxiety (17) anxiety in parents of children with special needs (2) apple orchard (2) apps for autism (1) AppSmitten (1) Arbaclofen (13) Arbitrary Thoughts (1) ARC (1) autism (25) autism brushing (2) autism portrayed in TV shows (1) Autism Shines (1) awareness (15) backyard (1) baseball (2) bath toys (1) beds (1) behavior problems (4) being tall (1) Birthday Boys (3) biting (4) blog change (1) blog hop (2) blogging (3) books (8) bottles (12) brushing (3) bubbles (3) Burnsville Fire Muster (4) bus (1) Cabin Fever in Minnesota (1) candy (2) Carly Fleischmann (4) Carly's Voice (1) cats (1) cats and dogs (1) chewys (2) Chicago (8) childcare for special needs children (4) childhood (1) Children's Museum (1) chocolate (1) Christmas (8) Church (4) circumin (1) clinical trials (1) Clonidine (2) CNN Hero of 2011 (1) coffee (1) communication (1) comparisons (1) computer (1) Conference (5) cost of special education (2) Courage Center (1) Curcumin (1) daddy (1) dance (5) dance competition (2) dance moms (2) Dental surgery (1) dentist (2) developmental milestones (1) diagnosis (3) diapers (2) Diego (2) Disability Day (2) dogs (1) Dolphin Tale (1) Doomsday Preparation (1) Dora (6) Doritos (2) drug trials (1) DVD player (1) early intervention (1) earrings (1) Easter (1) ECSE Parent Retreat (1) electronic gadgets (1) electronics (1) Everything I need to know... (1) Evil Overlord (1) fall (3) falling asleep at school (1) families (1) family (6) fashion (1) fear (1) Featured (5) Feel Good Friday (10) field trip (1) fireworks (1) first day of school (4) Flash Gordon (1) Food Chronicles (2) food issues in Fragile X and autistic children (3) forms (1) forts (1) Fragile Face of God (1) Fragile X (28) Fragile X advocate (1) Fragile X and autism (1) Fragile X Awareness Day (1) Fragile X carriers (2) Fragile X in the news (2) Fragile X presentation (1) Fragile X statistics (2) Fragile X Writers (14) friends (5) fundraiser for Fragile X (1) funniest (14) Funny (1) Gabrielle Giffords (1) Galveston (3) games (1) getting carsick (1) Girls' Night Out (1) Giving Spirit (1) glasses (1) global warming (1) going home (1) Good Morning (1) Great Quotes (2) guest blogs (3) guest post (2) haircuts (3) Halloween (2) hearing test (1) Heaven is for Real (1) hippotherapy (2) holidays (5) Holland (4) Holly (3) home life (1) homework (3) hotel (1) hugging (3) hyperactivity (2) IEP Meeting (2) IEPs (1) in the news (4) inclusion (2) inspiration (3) integration (1) iPad (4) iPad apps (2) iPad apps for autism (3) IQ testing (4) Jack Jablonski (2) January First (1) Joke (1) journal entry (1) kids with Fragile X and animals (1) Kindergarten (6) Kindle (1) kisses (1) language study (3) learning to talk (5) leaves (1) lemonade stand (1) Lily (1) Little Einsteins (1) losing teeth (1) Mad Gab (1) makeup (1) mall (1) Mall of America (2) marcia braden (1) McDonalds (1) media sensationalization (2) medications (10) Melatonin (1) Miami (1) MIND Institute (2) Minnesota Bloggers Conference (2) minocycline (1) Miracle League (3) monkeys (1) mosquito bites (1) Mother's Day (1) movies (3) MVMOM Used Clothing and Equipment Sale (1) nail trimming (1) names (1) naughtiness (1) neighbors (1) nicknames (1) nightmares (1) normal (1) off topic (9) one thing leads to another (1) Operation Beautiful (1) oral sensory (2) orphan drug act (1) other bloggers (2) Our Wedding (2) outside (2) overstimulation (3) panic attacks (1) parade (3) parental stress (1) Parenthood (1) park (7) Partners in Policymaking (6) penicillin (1) people with disabilities (5) pets (1) pharmacy fun (1) photography (1) Photoshop (1) picnic (1) Pictures (3) pinching (2) pink shirt (4) Pinterest (1) playing outside (7) playing with toys (7) poem (1) politics (2) poop (4) potty training (10) Presents (2) protecting autistic children (2) rash (1) reading to kids (1) research (15) Retreat (1) riding a bike (2) Robin Williams (1) Roger Ebert (1) routine (1) RSS feed (1) RUSH University (1) San Diego (1) Sandy Hook Elementary (1) Santa (3) schedules (2) school (37) school bus (2) school notes (1) school pictures (2) screaming (2) self image (2) self-checkouts (1) sensory (21) Seroquel (1) siblings with developmental delays (2) sick kids (6) sippy cups (11) sleep (5) smile (1) snow pictures (5) Snowstorm (3) social situations (7) speaking of the unspeakable (1) special education (2) special education evaluation (1) special needs kids (1) special needs parents (2) Special Needs Ryan Gosling (6) Special Olympics (1) spelling (2) spoon feeding (2) spring break (3) staying positive (2) stimming (4) Strep (1) STX209 (27) Stylish Blog Award (1) suicide (1) summer (8) Sunday School (1) Sundays (1) sunshine (1) survival mode (1) swimming (9) talking (13) talking to kindergarteners (2) Target (2) teacher's aides (1) Teeth brushing (1) Tegretol (1) Temple Grandin (9) Ten Commandments (1) textbook case of Fragile X (1) thankful (1) thanksgiving (2) that window/mirror thing (1) The Autism Store (1) The R Word (3) the rapid passage of time (1) The Right Things to say to parents of special needs children (1) The Santa Experience (3) the Shedd Aquarium (1) The Twin Thing (8) The Wiggles (2) therapeutic horseback riding (2) therapy (12) This is Autism (1) topless (1) trampoline (2) traveling with special needs children (12) TV (1) twins with special needs (3) Twitter (2) typical Fragile X characteristics (2) typical kids (1) typing (1) vacation (3) Vacation Bible School (2) video games (1) videos (8) volunteering (1) Waisman Center (4) water play (3) way-back-Wednesday (1) What I've Learned (1) What's your song? (1) when a special needs parent dies (1) Wiggles (4) Wii games (1) Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (1) winter (2) wonder (1) Wonder Pets (1) Wordful Wednesday (1) Wordless Wednesday (6) Words of Wisdom (1) World Autism Awareness Day (1) YMCA (2) You Tube (2) Zack (22) Zoloft (1) zoo animals (2)