We’re trying to respect your personal space, Santa

I wanted to take Buster to the Home Depot kids’ workshop, but he threw a wrench at our Saturday morning by refusing to potty. Despite both Mommy’s and Daddy’s coaxing, he was adamant; his three-year-old bladder is tough, even after 10 hours of sleep. He usually sticks to his guns on such matters, but a few minutes later he conceded. “Daddy,” he said, hopping from one leg to the other, “You wight [right]. Mommy wight [right], too. I gotta go potty.” Even in urgent moments, he gives credit where credit is due.

Confident our building project wouldn’t be interrupted by a sudden Men’s Room steeple chase through Home Depot, we set out.

We encountered  an acquaintance sitting in a chair outside the kids’ workshop area. It was an awkward moment, because we weren’t expecting to see him and he didn’t seem to remember us. But Santa meets so many people he can be forgiven for not recognizing us right off. To mitigate the awkwardness, we quickly claimed our kit and set to work.

Meanwhile, Santa, who was on the young side, and planned to spend his day helping customers find pipe fittings when his manager handed him red suit, sat sheepishly in his chair, counting the moments until he could don the more comfortable orange apron.

poor Santa

Santa’s unease with children made more sense when we learned that his father was fatally mauled by a wild band of them. 

As Santa stewed in his regret over having drawn the short straw, we set to work building our blocks on a dowel stuck into a wooden base thingy. Buster is getting good with a hammer, which would be all good news if he were 12; for a preschooler it still has the potential to be a mixed blessing. We only made one mistake this time – an improvement for manly men like Buster and me who don’t need no stinking instructions.

On the way out, we passed Santa again. Hoping to lend some value to his time served beside these terrifying little people, I asked Buster to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas. Neither Buster nor Santa appeared keen on the proposed interaction, but I had refrained from any talk about sitting on laps, so neither fled screaming down the aisle.

Meanwhile, Busters unease with Santa is based on half-truths and misrepresentations.

Meanwhile, Buster’s unease with Santa is based on half-truths and misrepresentations.

At length, Buster whispered, “You tell him.” Santa’s eyes agreed this would be best.

“What do you want?” I asked Buster.

Buster leaned in so Santa couldn’t hear. “Star Wars LEGOs.”

I relayed the message. Santa stared at me for a while. Then, in a moment of inspiration, he replied, “Um, I’ll see what I can do.”

We left Santa to serve out his sentence as best he might and went home. Hours later, as darkness fell, Buster approached me with a sad face. “Star Wars LEGOs not coming,” he lamented. I explained that Santa didn’t come until Christmas, which must be some days away since we didn’t have a tree yet.

Buster was assuaged, but now I’m on the hook for Star Wars LEGOs. It’s one thing that they’re an expensive toy, but Buster’s hammering skills won’t build LEGOs. Guess how I’ll be spending Christmas.