I decided to take Payne to see Santa, since he expressed interest this year, and hell, I had some cute outfits that had yet to be assigned a purpose.
We get to the mall and Payne is all "Oh yeah. Totally see Santa every day. No biggie."
Then it gets to be our turn. I introduce Genevieve to Santa and she starts wailing. Meanwhile, Payne tries to hide behind the velvet rope while wildly announcing "I dohn wike Santa. He not nice!".
I allow the group behind us in line (who I'm sure were THRILLED at my kids example of Santa behavior protocol) to go while I deliver a quick boot camp style motivational speech. We can go play after Santa, yes! And Santa won't know what to bring you if you don't tell him. And Santa is nice, see? Look, that little girl likes Santa! You just have to stand next to Santa. It'll be fiiiiine.
So Payne hops over there all business. Genevieve revs up wail intensity as she nears Santa like a geiger counter approaching Chernobyl, so I decide to see if the boy can fly solo for the first shot:
Oh My God. The Elf had better luck in 30 seconds than our family photographer had in two hours.
It's a Christmas Miracle!
He told Santa he wants "cwaws" (claws), so now after such an excellent performance I have to go procure something sharp looking for his hands. Hmmm...
Feeling more confident (and Genevieve had a cute dress on, damnit) I tossed her onto Santa and ran away as if I'd just thrown a grenade...a very, very angry grenade.
I knew this would result in one of those "Ha ha! Look at the screaming baby on Santa!" photos but I had no idea it would come out this perfect:
I LOVE IT.
The Elf kept asking me if I realized Payne's eyes were closed as I was buying it. I was all "Oh I know! I figured I should buy either a home run or a complete disaster."
She was honesly looking at me as if she expected my handlers to come around the corner and escort me back to the nut house at any moment.
Best $20 I ever spent.