Gabby finally got to meet the jolly one Christmas Eve, and no, Chuck, we did not have a Love Connection. Prior to entering the mall she was pretty excited. Then she saw him and .. well ….
ME: (Pointing to Santa in his sled) Look Gabby! Look!. There’s Santa!
Gabby looks at him, then grows quiet.
ME: Look! There are three kids already talking to him. Don’t you want to talk to him, too?!
Gabby stays silent, not taking her eyes off him. We sit at a bench and wait for the kids and their parents to depart. Santa goes “Ho Ho Ho.”
ME: Did you hear that? Santa said, ‘Ho, Ho, Ho! Isn’t that funny?
Gabby’s eyes never leave Santa. She also never speaks. The kids leave.
ME: Come on Gabby. Let’s go see Santa!
We walk up to the sled. Gabby lets Santa pick her up and sit her on his lap.
SANTA: Ho Ho Ho! What’s your name little girl?
GABBY: (Refuses to look at him. Instead stares straight ahead into Old Navy and begins what the kids call “zoning”)
ME: (Inperturbed) Her name is Gabrielle. Tell him your name, Gabby.
ME: You’re not going to tell Santa hello? Don’t you like Santa.
SANTA: Well, what do you want for Christmas?
GABBY: (Has yet to move an inch) ……
ME: Hey Gabby .. Guess who Santa knows? He knows …. Yosef …
ME: Tell Santa Yosef is your friend.
SANTA: You know Yosef? I know Yosef too!
ME: Tell Santa that Dora is your friend too.
SANTA: (Speaking as if he had no clue who Yosef is but sure knows Dora) Oh yeah! I know Dora the Explorer! She’s a great friend of mine!
ME: (Figuring I better wrap this up). Let me take your picture with Santa, Gabby. Smile for daddy and Santa.
Santa poses. Gabby shifts her eyes toward him, hints at smile. Once flash fades, returns to trance.
ME: (Taking one last stab) You going to tell Santa what you want for Christmas.
Gabby finally looks at me. Her bottom lip begins to quiver. She slowly shakes her head. I get the drift.
ME: Okay then. Let’s go. Tell Santa thanks.
SANTA: (Handing her a candy cane) Merry Christmas Gabrielle! Merry Christmas!
Gabby takes candy. I pick her up and walk back to bench. She stares at candy cane and still refuses to speak.
Minutes later the trance fades and she returns to her Gabby-self. She offers a quick glance to Santa as we leave, and later brags to momma that Santa have her a candy cane. But not even learning that Yosef likes Santa freed her from a scene straight from A Christmas Story.