I eyed Santa, as he was eyeing us, and determined he was young... and skinny... and hopefully two butts would fit in that giant chair that seemed to swallow the great elf right up.
He watched as I picked the rip-off photo package and started to shift his body over. "Come on over here bud, sit next to me."
We timed our trip to the mall to visit Santa in the middle of the afternoon, on a school day, to avoid lines (and looks). It worked perfectly this time. Way cooler than Santa.
Jake asked me if he could go over, and I reassured him that THIS stranger was safe. After reminding him not to sit ON Santa's lap but sit next to him, he gingerly squeezed in next to him. Whoa, way bigger than Santa.
"I want an iWatch!" Jake told him. "And a comforter for my bed, and a new suitcase to take to Texas. It has to have four wheelies and turn fast.
This Santa, being so young, was pretty savvy.
"Well the iWatch is going to be really hard to get. There aren't many of them. I might be able to do the comforter for your bed, but you have to pick up your bedroom so I don't trip and break my neck!"
Ok.. now I wanted to kiss Santa Claus. (I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus).... Then he added, "While you're at it. I remember last year, Rudolph needed to use your bathroom, and it was so dirty, he waited until he was at your neighbor's house. That's how you get on the good list! Clean up!"
Ok.. Santa scores again!
The photographer elf urged a smile from the two and coaxed Jake to look Santa in the eyes, imagine wedding photos nose-to-nose, (clearly not understanding autism) then she told them to hug. Well, to a kid who works very hard deciphering strangers from friends from acquaintances, he hesitantly put his one arm across his front, as did Santa. I'm surprised that's the cutest picture of the bunch.
As we were paying, since no one else was in line, Santa came to register to talk more with us. They were intrigued by Jake and he them. There was no weirdness, no stress, then one of the elves told me that Jake "must be super smart, right?"
I now wanted to hug the elf, but instead I just told her "Jake is one of the smartest people I know and he's my hero."
They all got warm fuzzies, handed me the cutest $35 picture ever and waved us on our way. Another person educated, a lesson way bigger than Santa.
Another Santa success! Now he better deliver on time! That a story for another blog.... fingers crossed.
If he doesn't deliver, next year, Jake is likely to be twice his size, and you know these beautiful Autism brains, he will never forget!