ST. LOUIS - When you learn Katie Decker's two young boys are named Lars and Axl, you might guess Katie and her husband enjoy heavy metal rock.
But this Crestwood mother never imagined how the music of 'Metallica' would give her a special gift.
When Decker brought 2-month-old Lars to see Santa at West County Center last year, Santa quickly reacted to the baby's first name.
"Lars? Like Lars from 'Metallica'?" Decker recalls Santa asking. "He then proceeded to sing 'Enter the Sandman,' like a little lullaby. And Lars immediately reacted to him."
It's common for babies to have unpredictable reactions when first meeting Santa. While beaming new parents may have visions of the perfect snapshot for a family Christmas card, babies sometimes erupt in tears on Santa's lap.
But for Katie Decker, watching Lars respond positively to any sound at all is a precious gift. Lars has hearing aids in both ears.
"It is magic," Decker says. "It is magical seeing this child respond to sound, to voices, to the little inflections that we hear, that we take for granted. It's a gift. It really is a gift and we are so grateful for it."