i think i might have one lone picture of zoe on santa's lap stashed away somewhere. she would have been about 10 months old, and thinking something like,"hey, there. how's it goin'?" other than that, my kids have all been quite stand-off-ish to the white haired old man from another state...or planet...depending on which one is telling you about him. and i never pushed it, never really wanting to wait in line, not really desiring one of those photographs of panicked babies and desperate st. nicks. you don't have to tell him directly, anyway, i've heard. you can send letters, or so i've been told. (or yell across a crowded mall like the 3 year old zoe lane. "HEY, SANTA!! I WANT A BARBIE! A BARRRBIEEE!) and, to be perfectly honest, i never really know how to handle the whole "santa claus" issue. what form of christmas do i really want to perpetuate, here? but on the other hand, who am i to say he doesn't exist? after all, to this day my own mother claims there is a santa. so i find myself still believing. at 32. and when my children ask me details about the jolly man's personal life, i pull a louise. "how do you think he gets in to a house with no chimney?" (wait for answer) "hmmm. that sounds like a good idea." but this year the primary had a real life santa-sitting. and with no expectations, i found myself last in line with my 3 oldest. all of which completely and totally surprised me by sitting on that guy's lap and telling him what they would love most for christmas. after the fact, i inquired about their new found experience. jakob expressed some disbelief that he was in fact the real santa clause, because his hair and beard looked an awful lot like "grass". and when i asked what they told him they desired above all else, i discovered that silly little santa put words in their mouths! (i'm assuming that it was an attempt to counter act their hesitant requests, but come on.) "how about a really big race car!" excuse me? he's been asking for star wars for the last 11 months. let's not shake things up now. and baby bird informs us constantly that "santa say he bing me fee bahbies. pincess bahbies." that's "3 princess barbies" for those of you who do not speak riley's dialect. (but she's not all that reliable.) hmm. well, santa had you pegged for a dora girl. when did this princess business start? and zoe was feeling a bit too tall to be sitting on a stranger's lap, but forgot all about that when she was presented with a goody bag bursting with candy canes and chocolates. they were all really happy with the whole situation. and i found my smile permanently attached that morning. maybe because i had a pretty good idea of what was coming. or perhaps because my babies were so well behaved as they stood in line for so long. but it could have been because if that guy wasn't the real deal, there is a very likely possibility he knows the big man personally. so i imagine that very soon, they will have a brief, yet effective, discussion on the word "vague".