Lots o’ stuff happening during this holiday season.
But one thing I always want to publicize is the “Caring Santa” event. We did this last year, and it was a success. So, we signed up again.
“Caring Santa” events are coordinated through Simon Malls and AbilityPath.org and are a wonderful way for children with special needs (especially those with sensory challenges) to meet Santa. Those of us know that what “should” be a wonderful childhood experience can, in fact, be traumatic and jarring. Between the lines, the jostling, the noises – it can be a scary thing for children to overcome.
These events are scheduled during mall “private” hours, which in our case was Sunday from 9-11 AM. All you have to do is sign up and show up. The music is off, the lights are dimmed, and there is no rushing. Once you check in, you are assigned a number. The Mall provided coloring activities for the kids while you wait to be called.
I am happy to report that this event was popular for the Mall. SO POPULAR that we did have to wait a bit longer, probably at least 30 minutes. Apparently, by the time we got there (it’s about an hour drive from our house), ten families had checked in before us! So, while it was very difficult for B to wait to tell Santa his list, I was happy that other families were also hearing about and taking advantage of this event. Plus, we didn’t have to stand in line – which as you know, can ruin the mood.
And when B *finally* got his chance, he told Santa he wanted a pink bus and a big car. The pink bus reference was from seeing one in the Town Parade the day before (more on that in other post) and he picked out an expensive Power Wheels car from a catalog we got in the mail. I was so proud. 😉
So, notice that Mayita is missing. Seems that Mayita has hit the “stranger danger” phase of toddlerhood. Specifically, the man in the big red suit is apparently a VERY BAD MAN. Because she absolutely refused to go anywhere near him. She turned as red as the dress she was wearing. And while some parents don’t mind the screaming kid Santa picture, I’m not a fan. So we didn’t bother (side note: neither Husband nor I were prepared to be in the Santa picture either so we clearly opted out of that choice).
The “only” issue I had with this event was that while we were there – people were lining up to see Santa during his “normal” time. I mean, people were there over an hour early to get into line. I don’t remember that happening last year. It caused some minor confusion (people were wondering why we were there first) but I guess in the end it didn’t matter.
Because I’m still grateful for the people that made it possible to kids like B to talk to Santa without being rushed or overloaded. I just hope he stays on that “nice” list!