Yesterday the girls took us to see Santa Claus. Since she's a toddler, we weren't sure how Lulu would react to the big guy (her moment of recognition aside), but we got her into the same dress Pete wore in her first picture with Santa and headed out to the mall. On a Saturday afternoon. After Thanksgiving. Bleh! It wasn't too bad, though, and the line to see Santa wasn't Super Long like it usually is when we go (except last year when we went the weekend before Thanksgiving and there was no line). There was a little line, though, and Lulu didn't want to stand in it so Husbandguy took her and stood off to the side where she could watch Santa ho-ho-ho-ing while Pete and I waited in line. When it was our turn, he put her down and sent her my direction, and she started to come but then changed her mind and looked like she was going to run off (in a you-can't-catch-me way, not a scared way). And then... Santa called her (real) name! "Lulu," he said. And she stopped dead in her tracks and turned, as if in slow motion, and peered at him like, "How do you know my name?" Still not scared though. Then he called Pete over to him, by her (real) name, and Pete went, and Santa motioned to Lulu to come to him, and Lulu went, and they both wound up in his lap. He ho-ho-ho-ed with them for a minute. Then it was time to take the picture. The Cheese Elf waved her stuffed lion and said, "Lulu! Look at my lion!" and Lulu looked at it like "Yeah. And?" so I said, "Smile with your teeth!" and Lulu broke out the cutest smile, teeth and all, and the Cheese Elf snapped the picture. Awww! Thank goodness for smile-with-your-teeth! Santa was even impressed. He said, "If only they were all like that," and made the Money-Taking Elf show him the photo before he handed it over to us.
I hate to admit it, but this is actually only my second favorite picture-with-Santa. My first favorite is the one when Pete is wearing the same dress Lulu wore yesterday, and we couldn't get her to smile pretty, and while I was debating between two great shots, the demonic smile or the gloomy thunder cloud face she made when we told her to Please stop smiling!, the Cheese Elf looked up and snapped the most precious shot of Santa reading to Pete. That's my favorite. Sorry Lulu. You weren't there. But this is my first favorite picture-with-Santa story.
Also, Pete's mom knows how Santa knew their names. It's because this Santa is the Real Santa. He has to be. He's in all of Pete's Santa pictures since 2003.