This post is from last Christmas, but it’s one of my favorites and completely timeless! Who doesn’t need a good laugh in the middle of Christmas chaos, right?
Okay, maybe I am now on Santa’s naughty list. But even Santa has to know that this is totally out of character for me and I am sure even Santa has a “done button.” Or maybe not, because Santa doesn’t have an autistic kid. But there’s got to be at least one elf or reindeer that marches to the beat of a different drummer boy, right?
So anyway, Sunday, we decided we would take the boys to see Santa. However, in Utah, on Sunday the entire state shuts down and it’s nearly impossible to find anything open on Sunday, even Santa. After some searching, we found a Santa open at the mall. Not my favorite place to see Santa, but it was a week before Christmas and we were desperate. And to make matters worse, Calvin was having himself an “off” day. The website stated that they “prefer we not take our own photos” but they also said that the cheapest photo package was $20 and because at that price, I wasn’t going to buy separate pictures of the boys on Santa’s lap, I thought I would take my camera, just in case.
We were shooting to leave at 10:45. The mall opened at 11:00 because even though it’s Christmas, Utah still can’t open at a normal shopping hour. However, Calvin was giving us trouble, so we didn’t get out the door until closer to 11:15. And to Santa’s photo shop at 11:45. This is past our lunch time. And to make matters worse, there was a line all the way to California to see Santa and they were making plans for Santa to “feed his reindeer” (aka go to lunch). Well, we didn’t want to miss our spot in line, but we also knew Calvin wasn’t going to make it for very long waiting in a forever line, hungry. So Tyler and Donovan waited in line while Calvin and I got lunch.
No one told me there was a giant carousel at the food court. Despite the fact that Calvin isn’t a big fan of carousels because he doesn’t like the moving horses, he just HAD to ride this one because it had a dragon. I gave in, only to realize that it cost $1.50 in cash and I only had $1. Now, at this point, Calvin held his disappointment in well. He sulked and pouted a little, but I can handle this. But this was just the beginning. Calvin has a thing for order. And in his organized mind, if there are X amount of people sitting at a table, there must be X amount of chairs at the table. Of course he could not find a table with exactly X amount of chairs. Cue meltdown #1. Easily fixed with some swapping of chairs. Then Calvin insists that he stay at the table so no one takes his newly perfect table. No problem since Hot Dog on a Stick was right next to the table and I could watch him while I ordered. So I start ordering and notice Calvin getting up from his seat to look at the carousel. Still no problem, because he is still in view. However, two women decided that his perfect table was perfect for them as well and sat down. Cue meltdown #2. This was a bad one. I had to leave in the middle of ordering, try to explain to Calvin that when you leave you seat, no one realizes you are sitting there. And when that didn’t calm him, I had to pick him up and drag him to the Hot Dog on a Stick counter to finish my order because I know that more than likely he is hungry and acting this way because he needs food. So I keep ordering, in the meantime Calvin is screaming and desperately trying to get away from me because he really wants to go run away some place to calm down. This is okay at home, because he goes to a different room and calms down, but this is not okay in a mall because he will run someplace where I can’t see him and then not be able to find his way back. So I just have to hold him in total autistic meltdown while I am trying to pay for my order and paying little attention to the entire mall staring at me. Finally after what seemed like forever, Calvin was able to calm himself and sat on the floor.
Some saintly lady came over and asked if I would like some help with my food and took my tray to Calvin’s table (which the ladies vacated, probably in horror). She told me she has an autistic child and deals with the same stuff everyday. Apparently once you have an autistic child, you can spy one a mile away. Must be an autistic parent super power. But anyway, if that woman ever happens to come across my blog, you should know you are my Christmas angel.
So once Calvin started eating, he was much better. But it didn’t stop him form having mini meltdown #3 when he dropped his corn dog on the floor and couldn’t eat it again or mini meltdown #4 when a screaming child sat next to us and Calvin couldn’t take it. But the meltdown’s were much more manageable and quickly passed.
At this point I was pretty much done for the day. But there was still Santa. And Tyler was near the end of the line. It had now been an hour of waiting to see Santa. It was 12:45. At this point the little Santa’s helpers decided Santa needed a lunch break and placed the sign 3 families ahead of us stating that Santa would break at 1 and this is where they thought the line would be at that point. If there was any time left, they would let a few other families in. So we were still waiting. For another 20 minutes. In the meantime, Calvin was losing his line waiting abilities. He could not keep it together and was seriously over stimulated. He was everywhere, moving, bumping into people, spilled his lemonade, couldn’t concentrate on his DS to keep him preoccupied, and even licked a woman’s purse (seriously. Thank god she didn’t notice). But by some miracle they let us through. And as they do, I am picturing how this meeting with Santa is going to play off.
In my head, I am seeing Calvin on Santa’s lap. Tyler places Donovan on his lap and Donovan, dealing with a huge level of stranger anxiety right now, starts screaming. This cues Calvin into a Donovan crying meltdown and they snap a picture of Donovan screaming his head off while Calvin is in mid leap across Santa’s lap, trying to clobber Donovan, Santa holding him back. Of course, I didn’t want this to happen, so I made a plan. Calvin was going to get on Santa’s lap, then I was going to get in position, Tyler would place Donovan on Santa’s lap while I took a quick picture and Tyler grabs Donovan again and we get a $20 pic with just Calvin. Everything went according to plan except for Santa’s Helpers.
SH: “We have a policy. No cameras.”
Me: “I just want a quick picture of the baby”
SH: “We have a policy.”
Me: “You don’t understand. The baby is going to cry which will put my other boy into an autistic meltdown and Santa is going to get punched.”
SH: “I’m sorry. We have a policy”
This is where my done button was hit. I gave them my angriest mommy look. A look that would make my mom, grandmother, AND grandfather proud and I turned around and TOOK THE PICTURE. By some miracle, they did not tackle me and my camera and drag me out of the North Pole. And by some even bigger miracle, Donovan DID NOT cry and we actually got a picture of both of them sitting happily on Santas lap. Which is good because my picture wasn’t great but as my mom says, “It’s the principle of the matter”.
AND THAT IS HOW I ALMOST GOT KICKED OUT OF THE NORTH POLE.