My Kids, Santa’s Elves

Whew, this has been quite a transition for all of us. Clint played stay-at-home-dad for a couple of weeks, then, last Thursday we started the kiddos in daycare. Clint was home for Thursday and Friday so we could do a first-run of how daycare will work without him having to also start his first day at his new job. Then, Monday, he became a working man again, I continued on my job, the kids continued at daycare, and Colby started a new Kindergarten class at the daycare center.

(Which is another story, but we were so blessed with this opportunity. He is only the 14th student in the class, and they don’t accept any more than 15 kids. This is going to be such an amazing opportunity for him!)

Can you believe it has only been just over a month since Clint came home with his bad news?

I sure can’t.

So, all of this transition is bound to cause some issues, right? Surprisingly, it seems to have gone fairly smoothly. The only thing I’ve noticed is that the kiddos, and particularly Colby, are exceptionally needy for my attention. Not a shock to me in the least, and truly, I expected it and fully understand their needs.

Last night, after books were read, teeth were brushed, and prayers were said, Colby, who was dressed in green, white, and red striped jammies, decided to start whining about going to bed.

This is how I would’ve handled it two months ago, after having dealt with whining all day long:

Colby: Mooooom! I don’t WANT to go to bed! NO!
Me: Colby, this is not negotiable.
Colby: NO! I WON’T NO. NO!
Me: Go to bed now or I will take away privileges.
Colby: NO!
Me (through gritted teeth): COLBY! I told you to go to bed. Do NOT DARE disrespect me.
Colby: (Sticks tongue out or mimics me…)
Me: That’s IT! You may not watch Saturday morning cartoons! Done!

After which, I would’ve closed the door, probably too hard, and spent the next 10 minutes listening to him throw a screaming tantrum in his room while I threw my own fuming tantrum in my mind or via vent to Clint.

Instead, this is what happened last night:

Colby: Mooooom! I don’t WANT to go to bed! NO!
Me: Colby, this is not negotiable.
Colby: NO! I WON’T NO. NO!
Me: I’m sorry, buddy… I just can’t take you seriously in those jammies. You look like an elf. Wait… are you an elf?
Colby (smiling): Noo…
Me: You are, aren’t you?! I knew it! That is why you are so sleepy in the morning. You wait until Daddy and I are asleep and then you magically fly to the North Pole where you work in Santa’s Workshop making toys, and then you come home and lie down just before we all wake up. That’s it, isn’t it…
Colby (grinning wildly): I’m not an elf, Mommy!
Me (turning to Lily, who is now giggling): He’s good, Lily.  He’s real good. He won’t even give away his true identity of Santa’s Elf.
Lily: I’m an elf!
Me: What?! You’re an elf, too?! Do you both magically transport yourselves to the North Pole every night?!
Clint (poking his head into the room): Did I hear that Colby and Lily are elves? Cooool!
Colby and Lily (both giggling): Yes!
Me (whispering): Am I on the Naughty or the Nice List?
Colby: I don’t know…
Me: Oh, right, I get it. You’re sworn to secrecy. I respect that. So, what am I getting for Christmas?
Colby: I don’t know, Mommy!
Me: Oh, duh, you can’t tell me that either! Silly Mommy. Okay, can you tell me what you elves are making in Santa’s Workshop tonight?
Colby: Paper snowmen.
Me: Dude. So cool. Okay, well, I’d better let you go so that you can sneak away to the North Pole later. Night guys!

My time with my kids is much more limited now, and it has caused such a change of my priorities and given me more patience. I don’t want to spend the time I have with them getting mad and yelling. Granted, I know there will be times that comes up and I know it’s important to remain consistent with our discipline, but now that I have less battles to choose, I feel like I’m much more prone to making light of a situation instead of trying to assert my parental-ness.

After our little chat last night, Clint and I heard the scampering of little feet and stifled giggles. When we went into our room, we saw that some elves had “wrapped” hand-drawn pictures of snowmen in blankets and placed them on our bed. Sure enough, the elves really were creating paper snowmen. I just knew Colby had connections with St. Nick.

The past month has brought so many changes for our family, but so far, I feel like they’re all for the better. I am truly excited to see what happens next.

Change is scary, but man, it can be so good.