The Chocolate Lady

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The day Santa died........

Well, first of all, he didnt really die, just his spirit seems to have evaporated in the mind of Pooper. And, maybe not even that, maybe it's just a temporary lapse......let me explain.

Pooper has been 100% on-board with Santa. It's Pooper that reminds us that Santa doesnt have to pay for the toys, so there is no limit to what we can ask for.....or about how he can magically do things....

Beauty loves Santa, but she doesnt seem as riveted by his magic, but Pooper, he is! or....was?

Several weeks ago, My Honey and I made plans to take the kids on the Polar Express. Actually, not the Grand Canyon one....but one up in Fillmore, called the, "North Pole Express." Fillmore is about 3 hours away, just north of Los Angeles. My Honey knew a colleague that had gone with her kids and she said it was fabulous. We had wanted to go for so long to the Polar Express, but it is several hours away, so this Fillmore option seemed perfect.

The kids had no idea about this surprise, and as Christmas has drawn closer, they have been concerned that we hadnt made our annual trak to the mall to chat with the old guy. They believe that if you dont tell him what you want, that you wont get everything....(this is Pooper's belief)...but that you will only get part of what you want, because you didnt make the effort to come and see Santa.

So, Pooper has been worried that he wont get his desired list....really worried. Beauty, well, she doesnt even have a list, she finally decided she wants some, "fashion", but that's it.

Yesterday, as we took our car in to get the window fixed, Pooper wondered if we would be able to squeeze in a trip to the mall to see Santa, I (always turning our outtings into ADVENTURES) told him I had called the mall, and Santa had already packed up and was headed back to the North Pole. This, naturally, upset my kids, and as soon as I saw their devastation, I quickly told them, that WE WERE GOING TO TRACK HIM DOWN! Daddy was leaving work early, and if we could get the window fixed on the car, we would drive up to an old train that would take us to see Santa.

*** Note*** I was unsure what the "story" would be on this train...would they make the claim that we were actually at the North Pole? I wasnt willing to make such promises to my kids, so I simply said, "I dont know how, but they are going to try to go as far as they can to find Santa, ON HIS WAY to the North Pole."

Pooper, naturally had lots of questions, and he was very excited at the prospect of breaking a world record! You see, he seemed to know that the youngest person to go to the Arctic was 4 years old, and this would allow Little One the new honor. He also began calculating how long it would actually take to get to the Arctic, the path to get there (he noted crossing bodies of water!) and many times throughout the day, he became filled with excitement as he would, "get to go to a new continent!"

This all spelled big trouble to me, and I reminded him, that I wasnt sure if we were going to the North Pole, or just finding Santa on his way....

In any case, I TRUSTED, that this company that had developed this fantasy had done what was necessary to make it special, and REAL. You know???

So, we left our house around 2pm....but I purposely kept saying that it was "lunch time", hoping to create an optical illusion re: the time we would travel. We stopped for "dinner" at 4pm up near Valencia, "WAY passed LA"...and then, "drove longer until it was dark" (another hour) to get to the station in Fillmore. I was proud of myself, because, with the help of a setting sun, I had made the children believe we had been driving "all day, for many hours" and Pooper now believed we had gone passed San Francisco. Yes, I had done MY PART to help authenticate this journey.

We arrived in Fillmore, a sleepy old town, which in the dark, appeared to be a migrant town for workers of the avocado farms and vineyards. There was a Santa's Village set up, with a small carousel ....funny thing about the carousel.

I was watching while My Honey rode around with the girls, and I noticed a rather large boy on a horse...well, he wasnt actually, ON the horse, as he purposely slid himself from side to side, laughing (and bumping into the "first time dad" holding his daughter on the horse next door.) Apparently, it was his grandparents standing next to me, and they gave commentary as the ride progressed:

Grandma: "JEREMY! sit still, you are kicking that man!"

Grandpa: he cant sit still, he doesnt fit on that seat, so he is cutting up to cope.

Grandma: "JEREMY! STOP THAT! Sit still!"

This went on, and I kid you not, as Jeremy passed each time, I could hear the creaking of the old wooden planks that secured his horse, they clearly seemed to be at their limit!

Anyhoo....eventually (7:20pm) we heard the whistle and boarded the old, antique train.

The company clearly asserted that we would indeed be heading all the way up to the North Pole. My kids were nearly bursting with excitement as we settled into our seats...Pooper with his face pressed against the window.

As our journey began, "Elves" came and passed out cookies, milk, ....everyone was filled with joy, except for my son, who was staring in disbelief out the window.

The train was going, approximately, 6.5 miles per hour, and Pooper turned to me and said, "We're never going to get there at this speed!"...I asked an elf if the train would start going faster soon, and she said, "No, the tracks are wet, and we need to be careful of 'slippage'"....

ok, first, what the heck is "slippage"???? The metrolink takes people up and down the state, every day, rain or shine, with no slippage. Secondly, I knew darn well, that if we never went any faster, Pooper's investment in Santa would have some serious "slippage"....

I said to the lady, in a quiet voice, "Two plus two makes four, and this one will never believe we made it to the North Pole at this rate."....and she answered loudly, "It's Santa Magic! We WILL get to the North Pole, with Santa Magic!"

Whatever...I remained hopeful, and the train plugged along......and from the window, we could see the cars, going much faster than us, on the freeway that paralleled the tracks. (really!)

At one point, Pooper turned to me and said, "I can ride my bike faster than this train!!"

He seemed genuinely upset.

During our ride, elves lead the group is boisterous rounds of Christmas carols, and read stories....and while everyone joined in, Pooper sat with his angry face pressed up to the window.

When the conductor announced that we were heading into the North POle.....everyone focused out the window, and cheered as they saw Santa waving at them. Santa was outside, in front of his stiped pole, and his little shack titled, "The North Pole."

While others cheered and hollered with glee, Pooper burst out, "That's it??!! There's not even snow!!" Clearly the Christmas songs were not enough to distract him from the farm animals, dirt, trees, and parallel roads that were clearly visible from the window.

My Honey and I went into overdrive with reasons why he had just spotted a cow, "Well, Im sure there are some families, somewhere, that are asking Santa for a cow to help with their farming, so he needs to have cows here to give to people!"

Pooper: A cow would die at the North Pole.

We told him all about Santa Magic, reminded him of the "hours and hours of all day journeying to get to this point"....I even had him believing we had gone through parts of Canada, and more..... I also threw in my motherly, "dont be so ungrateful! Many starving children would be so thankful to come on this train to see Santa!"

But his face was down, and his heart was heavy, and I didnt know if we could do anything to change it!

DANG IT!! Id rather have not come at all, then to waste all this time, just to kill his dream. If we had stayed home, he would be a full-on believer, now, thanks to POOR PLANNING ON THE PART OF THE "North Pole Express" company.....He was a serious doubter. I was kind of mad, and felt ripped off too.....I quickly multiplied the cost of the ticket, times the 500+ people that came each night (they mentioned such)....and wondered, "Could they not invest in a backdrop of snow???? or at least make some efforts to appear to be in the North Pole???"

Anyhoo... finally, we told Pooper, "I dont know these mysteries, you'll have to ask Santa." ...and he did.

After the train ride, we waited in the 30 degree winds to talk to Santa, and Pooper asked him how we got to the North Pole so quickly, when the train was driving slow...and Santa told him that there was an entire book about the magic of Santa, and told Pooper if he read it, it would answer his questions.

Pooper left, still unsure, (and now wanting that book)....he said the test will be, if he gets the items written on the list he gave to Santa.

I happen to have some insider information, and the prospect is hopeful, that the gifts under the tree will help to restore some of Santa's magic...Ill keep you posted!


Anonymous said...

I feel for you, my son who is only 5 said a few weeks ago that he didn't think Santa was real. Darn older cousins. I just told him that if he thought that then I guess he would not get anything for Christmas, because how would he get anything if Santa didn't bring it. Well he changed his tune and said "no, I believe in Santa". I don't know kids today are just too smart and Pooper seems really smart so good luck keeping the magic alive.

Carol Z.

Melanie said...

Great to have an update! I must admit, I'm a little curious about your Christmas card photo shoot this year! I loved the post last year about your adventures and can't wait to hear about the shoot this year....and see the results! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Poor Pooper! He has such a good heart!

Grandma J said...

Well, take it from me....Santa is real because just the other day we had our yearly luncheon. He always wants to know how Pooper, Beauty and Little ONe are doing...and of course all the cousins in Colorado, Florida and Texas.

Yep, we are like this (intertwining my fingers). Did I tell you Santa loves nachos? Did I tell you he never pays for lunch?

Di said...

What an adventure!!! I'm sure with your "insider information" everything will turn out fine!!!

Merry Christmas!!!

Life with Kaishon said...

You are such an excellent writer! I was captivated by this story and didn't want it to end.

Some creepazoid kid told Kaishon last year that there is no such person as Santa. He was devestated. I told him that you always have to believe and he told me that I believe everything...


Anonymous said...

You could have told him that was global warming, LOL.

jlo said...

Geez. Two things, number one, why didn't you call me? You drove right past my house! I could have "Fa-la-la-la-la'd" with you! Number tow, how did Christmas morning go?