So it’s over. It’s finally over. I wish I could say that I”m sorry to see it all go- the shreds of wrapping paper, the fake pine tree needles embedded in the carpet, the excess dust that seems to accumulate via the holiday decorations- but I’m NOT.
Don’t get me wrong; I loved spending time with the family. I savored the looks of joy and delight on the kids’ faces as they enjoyed their gifts.
But the work involved to GET there, and then to get THROUGH the holiday… leaves me feeling like this:
And most of all, I’m thrilled to bid adieu to THIS GUY:
I have a love/hate relationship with this thing, the origins of which I once posted about here. And initially, yes, it was fun. A novelty. But the problem is, the novelty became tradition.
(Not to mention, they’re just kind of… creepy, aren’t they? The kids love him, but to me, he’s less cuddly and more:
Setting: Thanksgiving night. I’m suffering from a sudden onslaught of sneezing/cold symptoms, and feeling miserable. It’s bedtime. I swig a hefty does of NyQuil, and tuck the older children in as the buzz begins. Just as I’m leaving the room, a cheerful #2 pipes up,
“Oh goody! The elf comes back tomorrow!”
I’m not one to spoil my kids. But at the same time, I’m not one to dash their dreams, either. And I forgot what an impact the stupid little thing had on the kids last year- how they’d scramble each morning to find him, and speculate on his doings.
But no…. the NyQuil….
I collapse on my bed in a heap, too exhausted to pry myself off it to drag the elf from it’s box. And the internal parental battle began.
But they looove it.
But one day is NOT a big deal.
But they’ll be so disappointed…
Out he came. And all I could muster up was a cup of coffee for him, because even when I first awoke the next morning, I was living vicariously through his gleefully caffeinated state.
The kids welcomed him back with open arms. Or the younger ones tried to. But they were sternly rebuked by their older siblings, who gave them the whole “don’t touch him or he’ll lose power or DIE or you’ll be on the Naughty List!” spiel.
But here’s the problem I have with the whole elf thing. The premise is that while the kids sleep during the night, he slips back to the North Pole to report on the childrens’ behavior, only to return before the children awaken, ideally in a novel spot or situation.
So in essence, every night essentially becomes Christmas Eve, in which I have to wait until the kids are secured into bed and/or sleeping before I can safely transport the elf.
And inevitably, this task would fall to the very last minutes of my night, when I’ve almost forgotten, and am dead tired. Sort of like the Tooth Fairy, who unfortunately has a shoddy reputation in our house for missing appointments and placing the money in odd, “Oh look, THERE it is!” spots.
So I began to resent the little bugger. BUT, I’m torn. My kids love it, and I love making them happy, but… he’s annoying.
Until I decided to make it fun for ME.
…By throwing him down the stairs…
This started quite the controversy; the children were amused yet perturbed. And #5 created mass hysteria when she “allegedly” touched the fallen elf, landing her on the dreaded Naughty List, and leaving the siblings muttering concerns regarding elf’s status. Would he survive his injuries??
It was touch and go for awhile… our elf required a few days of NOT MOVING AT ALL. It was critical. They were worried. And I got to bed on time a few nights while we waited for him to “recover”.
And his recovery was slow…..
Eventually, of course, he survived. And not only came back with full vigor, but was feeling just SUPER.
Elf’s injuries bought me time, but with a few days left, I still had to keep him moving. But the sick-humored side of me couldn’t resist meddling with the kids- if I have to get this elf moving each night, then I’M going to enjoy it, too. And my enjoyment stemmed not just from the kids’ enjoyment of the elf, but from their startled reactions when he did things just slightly off-putting…
Like the night the kids squabbled over the three leftover cupcakes one night, and woke up to this:
Or when they complained that they didn’t feel like having cereal, & were thrilled that I’d finally restocked the freezer with waffles.
Or the time that #3 irked by the elf’s recent tomfoolery & wrote him a stern warning that his room was “off limits”.
Or when a toy wasn’t put away after my repeated requests to do so, and our elf “helped out” by immobilizing said toy for the day.
Or, unsettling the kids by having him draw all over their faces. The kids know how I love our family pictures, so they were stunned by our elf’s audacity. (I was choking to suppress my cackles of glee.)
Christmas Eve is, of course, a night of parental overtime, so it’s a given that the following morning involved severe sleep-deprivation and copious amounts of caffeine. But despite the sheer exhaustion, I had that parental satisfaction of knowing that for our kids, it was a magical season. I loved witnessing their child-like enthusiasm and wonder that makes the holiday season worth all of the stress, busyness, and hard work. Almost.
And for me, the best gift of all:Six Pack Mom