After the great experience we had at the Arboretum in November, we knew we wanted to go back again during winter, when they have a holiday festival with lots of Christmas-related activities, including pics with St. Nick. Since we missed our chance to see "the real Santa" at Northpark Center, we planned on visiting his stand-in at the Arboretum so that A could get his second annual Santa picture. Last year, at five-and-a-half months, Alex was just oblivious enough that Santa didn't freak him out, but this year, he is much more aware of his surroundings and we were preparing ourselves for...an interesting experience.
And as expected, he pretty much panicked when we sat him on Santa's lap, cried his eyes out and reached for his daddy. And not that I can blame him. He was all, Who is this strange fat guy in ridiculous red pajamas with a mass of curly white nylon hanging from his face, and why in the world am I sitting on his lap while everyone stares at me and laughs? Am I the only one not enjoying this? After his initial unpleasant reaction, the photographer tried to make him smile by tickling him with a feather and attempted to bribe him with a candy cane, which he promptly hurled in her general direction. Just as she was saying that she didn't think she'd be able to "turn this one around", he cracked a smile and then got to laughing. The photog got to snapping and ended up with several great pics, including this one:
Truth be told, I would have been just as happy with a crybaby picture because that's kind of the whole point of these pictures, isn't it? To document the experience over the years and look back to see how things changed over time? So technically this was his crybaby year, and while I wasn't about to pay another $15 for the picture to prove it, we will probably remember it that way.
We did a lot more while we were there than see Santa, which can be seen in the slideshow that I have conveniently embedded below for your viewing pleasure. You can also access the pics directly at my Flickr site.