The last few nights Oliver, our Elf on the Shelf, has been hanging out with my daughter Molly's barbies and in her Barbie Dream house. Oliver has really focused on getting Molly's attention. Daniel and Calvin (being older and wiser have been slow to warm to Oliver...only showing mild interest). But, in the past few days they have become more and more interested in Oliver's hiding spots, depending on the level of creativity. They REALLY enjoyed when Oliver showed up in the Barbie Dream House hanging out with Peter Pan, GI Joe, Ken and Woody. They thought that one was really funny.
So, what am I starting to do? Well, in the beginning I was trying really hard to knock Molly's socks off, because she is the only one that truly believes in Santa. But, well...she already believes. The fact that there is an Elf reporting from our house to Santa and back each night should be amazing enough as it is, in her eyes. So, I really don't HAVE to go out of my way to top that. But, with Daniel and Calvin's new found interest in Oliver, I find myself thinking throughout the day of new places for Oliver to show up...bigger, better. And, to tell you the truth, something is happening. It feels like a little bit of that Christmasy believin' that starts to fade with kids their age is coming back (just a little bit and guess what...I will take whatever I can get).
The other day they were in somewhat of a panic yelling at each other not to tell where Oliver was hiding that day. Each of them wanted to be the one to find our crazy Elf. Minus the yelling and mild panic attacks, I loved that they were so excited to find him.
So, last night I decided that Oliver was going to work out a scene with the Playmobile guys. The Playmobile guys are my boys (especially Daniel's) most treasured toys from their younger days. I could work for hours at home while my boys played with these little guys. The neighbors used to lug their containers of Playmobiles to our house and we would have an afternoon Playmobile party. I would walk into Daniel's room and from everywhere and anywhere, he would have these little guys hanging around all decked out with armor, swords and helmuts. And even though he doesn't play with them anymore, he will never part with them and has a very hard time bringing them out for younger kids to play with when they visit.
So, there I am in the dark basement, digging through the Playmobile container when it hits me that my kids are growing up so fast. It happens from time to time. You are just minding your own business and then you see something that takes you back in time and it feels like a punch right in the stomach. Reality hits and you realize that life is just flying by. One minute they are little tiny fellas playing with their Playmobile guys and the next minute they are big kids trying to fill really big shoes.
Well, you know what did it to me last night? That brown trunk...the one right up in front in the picture (next to the guy with the sign).
Why would a tiny little trunk make me start crying? Well, that tiny little trunk is full of tiny little swords. I pictured Daniel deep in play putting those swords into that trunk for whatever reason his Playmobile guy wanted a trunk full of swords. Just hours completely lost in his Playmobile world. And then I couldn't remember if he had stopped playing with these toys overnight or if it was gradual. Was the last time he played with these toys the same day he put those swords in that tiny trunk?
A few years ago, my friend sent me a poem or prayer or something that read like a Mom wish list. "I wish I could hire someone to change diapers. I wish I could go to the bathroom without my kids following me, etc". And it ended with something like "but, I would trade all of these things for one more year that my children believed in Santa". At the time that I read that one line, I kind of fell apart because Daniel was starting to really question Santa and I think more than anything, I just wasn't ready for him to grow up.
It is the silliest thing, but this crazy little elf seems to be bringing a little Christmas magic back to a kid that seriously has his doubts. I know he knows, but, like I said before, I will take whatever I can get when it comes to keeping them young. Even if it is just young at heart. They are growing up way too fast. Why not believe (even if you have to pretend)...heck, I still believe.