Like many families with a young child in the house, we have an elf. His name is Jingles and he's a kindness elf...meaning that each day he brings a suggestion for something kind we can do for someone else. It also means that he does not leave messes for Mommy to clean up. That's probably the most important part. The only member of this household who is allowed to make a mess and not clean up after herself has 4 legs, sleeps 23 hours a day and only has about 3 lives left, if we're being honest.
So far, Jingles has asked us to donate books and winter clothes, compliment someone, hold the door for someone, purchase supplies from the school's giving tree and fill a box for a Marine who is deployed. I love these acts of service that help us keep the focus on others instead of ourselves during this very busy and sometimes stressful season. But I hate moving the elf. Inevitably, I forget until right before I'm heading upstairs for bed and I have to stop, sit down and write a note with the suggestion for the next day and then stick him somewhere silly. (Blue just wandered into the living room, bleary-eyed and confused after 3 hours of sleep. Thankfully, I was writing this or I would have been right in the middle of Operation Move the Damn Elf.) Jingles even went with us to Virginia last week and it took a couple of days for me to remember to get him out of the car. Fortunately, Blue is pretty oblivious to what I'm doing most of the time and I managed to move Jingles around in the car without him noticing.
Blue is also terrified of touching Jingles. There's something about the idea of him losing his magic and possibly not delivering treats from Santa that has kept Elf Jingles safe for 2 weeks now. Any time Blue has a friend over, he warns them (emphatically) not to touch the elf. And he springs out of bed every morning, ready to find Jingles, that silly elf. I wonder where he is today? (Last week he was hidden in the beer on the second shelf of the fridge. At least I'm keeping myself amused by all of this.)
We certainly have friends who have chosen not to have an elf in their home, for any number of reasons. One of Neal's co-workers explained that his 4-year old son is completely freaked the hell out by a creature moving around the house while everyone slept. Understandable. And some families don't want the hassle of keeping up with an elf. Others just choose not to make that part of their Christmas tradition. I respect all of that. I also appreciate it when families without an elf agree to play along with Blue as he recounts the nighttime antics of our Jingles. Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.
For the most part, I'm able to act just as excited as Blue when he finds Jingles every morning and I re-read the note that I had just scribbled 8 short hours before. I'm fairly certain that he has no idea this is me bringing some magic into the house via a $5 doll from Michael's. So imagine the dumbfounded look on my face this afternoon when we came home to find Jingles had actually moved without any human help.
Let me back up. Jingles asked us to donate some of Blue's old books to our local library yesterday. Well, yesterday I felt like death on a snot cracker so we didn't do much of anything except what was required of us. Last night, Jingles moved but failed to leave a note. Blue was somewhat disappointed by this so I said, "I think he's waiting for us to fulfill the task from yesterday before he leaves any more notes." Jingles, who was perched on top of the "JOY" sign ("J" was leaning to one side under the weight of the elf) on the mantle seemed to nod in full agreement. I mentioned that Jingles may leave us a treat for completing our task but we wouldn't get it until we got back from swim lessons. I then dashed upstairs, tossed a new book I had picked up at the Kentucky Book Fair on Blue's chair in his room, ran back downstairs and we left.
Two hours later, we returned home, hungry and tired. I was getting ready to fix lunch when Blue started with, "I wonder where the treat is? I wonder if he left it? Where do you think it is? Have you seen it?" (Whatever the average number of questions a 4-year old asks in a day is, I'm sure it's multiplied by 100 at Christmas.) And then..."MOMMY! JINGLES MOVED!"
OMG. He did!
I stood there in profound and genuine shock, trying to remember if I did that in some kind of Mucinex haze. I decided if that was me, I probably shouldn't be operating heavy machinery or driving. It was definitely not me. I snuck upstairs and called Neal. Did you come home at lunch? No. Why? So you didn't come home and move Jingles to the sled? Um. No. Are you feeling OK? No. He moved. He totally moved. How did he move?? Huh. Interesting.
In the end, we decided that he had somehow slipped from his perch on the mantle and performed a perfect somersault before landing in the sled in front of the fireplace, in a most chillaxed position. We thought about buying a lottery ticket. We bought Nyquil instead, which is now kicking in. But seriously...what are the chances? It's a Christmas miracle. It's the magic of Christmas. Ya better not pout, ya better not cry...Jingles is watching.