Today, we met up with Chris’s friend, husband, and their two daughters for brunch at a fun, kid-friendly brunch spot called Eastwood. Next door to Eastwood was a little barber shop that had a life-sized dancing Santa in front of the store. When you click a button by the Santa’s feet, it starts singing all different Christmas songs and dancing, moving both its arms and legs. As you’d imagine, the three kids were completely enchanted by this Santa. Kaia has just been getting acquainted with Santa in the last week, having seen him walking around the Melbourne and Brisbane airports and lounges twice already. Our friends’ younger daughter, who can be a little feisty, was a bit rough with the Santa. The owner of the shop popped out once to let her lightly know that the kids could get hurt if they were too aggressive with the Santa. He was so gentle and warm with the kids that it seemed like he was more worried about their safety rather than whether the kids would break his dancing Santa. Eventually, he took the Santa back into the shop, but I thought he exercised a high amount of patience and restraint given what the youngest kid was doing with his Santa.
I imagined the same thing happening in the U.S., and I imagined it would have been more of a scold to the parents rather than the shop owner addressing the kids nicely. In the U.S., kids are seen as a nuisance and a liability, whereas here, they seem to blend into society more and be accepted as actual tiny humans. It was actually sweet to see the exchange between the shop owner and the kids.