Our son had his first playschool Christmas performance last night. He’s barely two and attends the group for 2.5 hours in the morning five days a week. And he loves it. He’s such a social baby. He says Hi and Bye to practically everyone he meets and waves to total strangers. At some point I’ll probably have to give him some kind of stranger-danger lesson, but he seems to be a pretty good judge of character.

The setting is quite different than what you’d expect in the States, of course. It’s in the covered carport of the owner’s house. I had reservations about putting A in at the end of summer because it’s outdoors with no air conditioning, and it’s so hot, and he gets so flushed and sweaty. But, again, he loves it. He points out half a dozen children by name (most of them he gets right). There are toys everywhere, a lopsided swing set, and a fort/slide; and it’s a natural setting for sidewalk chalk.

Our winter temperatures have suddenly spiked in the last week, and it’s been hovering around 90. It had only cooled down a little bit and was hot and muggy with no breeze by the time we made it over there at 6pm. A ran around for half an hour until his hair was plastered to his head with sweat and damp.

Then the night started out with the owner’s three older children each playing a Christmas carol on a small electronic keyboard. Then the main performance was all 20 or so of the playschool kids getting together on a little stage to sing a few more carols with bells in their hands and felt antlers on their heads. Unfortunately A was having none of it. His teacher said he’d done really well in the practices, but he started to cry this time and refused to wear the antlers or get on stage. So I sat on the steps next to it with him and another friend whose son also did not want to participate and sang along with the kids.

After that, we had a break and some snacks that all the parents had brought. Then Santa came out with a bag full of toys. We were ready to skip it and head home since it was swiftly approaching bedtime, and we’ll also be seeing Santa on Monday at the embassy. But while I was saying good-bye to A’s teacher, Santa called his name. All the parents had pitched in a bit of extra tuition this month so the staff could purchase each child a small gift. I’d assumed it was the bells and antlers. But it turned out to be a great little toy Jeep that A insisted on sleeping with that night.

So I thought the whole thing went pretty well. And it was a great trial run for the “official” embassy Santa. Last year, A cried his eyes out on Santa’s lap….and he did the same at the playschool party. So at least we’ll be prepared and know to keep him with us for those holiday photos.