When Omelette was a baby, someone snapped a picture of her sleeping on her daddy’s chest as he lay sleeping on the couch. It’s one of those pictures that might trigger the “how sweet” response. But, pictures don’t always tell the whole story. In this case, as her father noted, the picture did not show the two hours of screaming that preceded.
Yesterday, Roostler and I took the kids for the obligatory picture with Santa. It’s a cute picture. Everybody cooperated, even Hatchling. When we give out copies to various family members, I’m certain we will get many a “how sweet.” And yes, it is a sweet picture. But, the whole story is not on those sweet little faces.
It started at breakfast. Roostler decided to make pancakes, a process that involved washing the dishes he needed because someone (and I’m not naming names) had neglected to unload and reload the dishwasher. Despite this setback, he soon had pancakes ready, and I began setting the table and making plates. As I called the girls to come to the table, Omelette called back that she already had her plate. Only, she didn’t have her plate. She had Early Bird’s. And she had taken it into her room so that she could continue playing while she ate. As I was getting on to Omelette for taking food where it didn’t belong, I heard Roostler tell Early Bird to get her hand out of the butter. I should have known then that it was going to be a long morning.
After breakfast, we began getting the kids dressed for the big visit. This is when the screaming started. Omelette was screaming because I was pulling her hair as I brushed it. Early Bird was screaming because she didn’t want me to change her diaper. Or put her dress on. Or brush her hair. And Hatchling was screaming just because.
We somehow got everybody dressed and loaded into the car where the drama continued. Early Bird wanted to play her game, which was not in the car. We told her it was somewhere in the house, which prompted her to ask us to go back in the house. We did not oblige this request. And so there was more screaming. When this subsided, Omelette launched into her request for an iPod. She adamantly insisted that Santa would be bringing her one. She said that all her friends had “electric” stuff and that she didn’t have anything “electric.” Santa was bringing her an iPod. I told her not to get her hopes up. Roostler told her she was too young. She sulked.
We arrived at the mall and commenced the unloading process. I pulled Hatchling’s car seat out while Roostler unbuckled Early Bird. Omelette sits between the two of them and comes out Hatchling’s side after I’ve taken out the car seat. This time, she decided to jump to the front of the car and exit from the passenger seat. I stopped her just short of knocking the door into the car next to us. She huffed as I made her come back the way she’s supposed to.
Heading across the parking lot, Roostler commented that I “might want to turn the car seat around” so that the wind wasn’t hitting Hatchling so hard. And that is when Mama decided to scream. “Don’t start with me!” I yelled. Graciously, he refrained from returning fire and so remained the only one who hadn’t screamed all morning.
The screaming didn’t stop once we got through the door at the mall. Several times, I had to yell at Omelette to stop skipping ahead of us. At one point, she told me not to yell out her name in front of everybody. “Stay with us, and I won’t have to,” I snapped. She folded her arms in a huff and rolled her eyes at me.
By the time we made it to Santa, everyone was all smiles. Miraculously, all the morning’s whining, moaning, complaining, eye-rolling, arm folding, and screaming melted away in the presence of an old man wearing a red suit. Omelette jumped up into his lap and handed him her letter, which contained the infamous request for an iPod. Roostler informed Santa that we had told her he wasn’t delivering iPods. Santa took the cue and said to her, “That’s right. We’re not doing those this year.” (YES! THANK YOU, SANTA!)
With our guidance, Early Bird joined her sister on Santa’s lap. Her letter consisted of variously colored scribbles. Omelette couldn’t resist pointing this out. Santa gently asked her what she wanted for Christmas, and she answered with a reindeer-in-the-headlights stare. “That’s all right,” he said. “I know what to bring you.” (Another thumbs up for the old guy!)
I got Hatchling out of her seat and positioned her between her sisters for the picture. To our surprise, she was both awake and happy for the big moment. Roostler and I moved behind the lady with the camera, told Early Bird to take her hand out of her mouth, and crossed our fingers. “Say cheese!” we called in unison. The lady snapped a few pictures and told us she thought we had a good one. We ushered everyone out of Santa’s lap and waited at the counter for the picture to print. It was a good one.
And so, without the thousand words (and the screaming), here is our picture with Santa:
Merry Christmas from Omelette, Early Bird, and Hatchling!