Today, Vivienne and I joined some friends at the local library for a ride on the Polar Express. The event began with a grandmotherly librarian reading Van Allsburg’s classic book.
Then, an elf handed a little velvet bag, containing a gold coin and a jingle bell to each child.
After that, we boarded “The Polar Express,” which was really just a blue trolley bus, but the way Vivienne walked up reverently and sat quietly in the very front seat convinced me that it was the real thing.
The trolley dropped us off at Santa’s Workshop, where we entered a room full of toys. Each child could plunk her coin in a Christmas box and pick out any present amongst the bears, lanterns, musical instruments, frames, and cars. Vivienne headed straight to “her baby,” which I thought for sure was a dented-head Dollar Store doll until I saw Vivienne cradling her precious “second child,” a new baby sister for her first doll baby, Ali.
I’m not sure if this picture captures it or not, but Vivienne was gazing at this baby doll the same way Imogene Herdman gazes at the Baby Jesus in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
By the time we were about to leave, Vivienne changed her mind about being frightened by Santa Claus and actually asked to get her picture taken with him (I’m learning to let things like this come from her, when she’s ready). Right before this picture was snapped, Vivienne turned to Santa and said, “Say Cheese, Santa!”
On the way home, we talked about how Santa is so jolly because he gets to give so many presents away. Later in the afternoon, she kept talking about how Santa was SO jealous and how she is SO jealous, too, because they get to give so many presents away. After several confusing moments of me trying to figure out why her words didn’t match her inflection, I figured out that she really meant “jolly” (that’s what happens when we choose the wrong “j” word)! She was quite relieved when I pointed this out to her. “JOLLLLLLY. Yes, we’re JOLLLLY! Burt in Mary Poppins is jolly, too.”