Santa Elf Davey

Well before my first child was ever born, I’d already jumped on the “Elf on the Shelf” bandwagon. I’d seen a co-worker bring one in and I thought, “what a marvelous idea! I wish we’d had something like this when I was a kid.” I wanted to purchase one terribly, but I didn’t have a child to give one to.

When I became pregnant with Davey, Elf on the Shelf was one of the first things I wanted to purchase. My sister-in-law beat me to the punch, having purchased one for me, her mom, and herself (in order for Davey to really buy into this, we had to prove that the elf really was everywhere he would be). Davey was 3 months old for his first Christmas, so I packed up the Elf on the Shelf and decided I would wait a few years to pull him back out.

Santa Elf Davey hanging out in the lamp.
Santa Elf Davey hanging out in the lamp.

Davey is now 3 and in preschool. He’s a lover of books, all books, any books, every book (makes this book loving mama happy), so I thought why not dust off the Elf on the Shelf and read the story. Plus, with the addition of a walking Henry, Davey is becoming a little naughty and territorial. I needed something to help keep him in line.

I told Davey a little bit about the elf, I read him the book, and told him we needed to come up with a name. I assumed the name would be Jasper, just because Davey’s grandfather calls him that (no clue why) and Davey must name everything else “Jasper”. This didn’t happen. Davey wanted to name him “Santa Elf Davey”, not just “Davey”, but we MUST say the entire name, otherwise he starts having a stage 5 meltdown and the toxic radiation from one of those could compete with Chernobyl.

That first day, Santa Elf Davey hung out in our Christmas tree. He was high enough up for Davey not to touch him, after all Santa Elf Davey could lose his “magic” if Davey touches him, and Santa Elf Davey had the perfect view of the room. All the better to see you with, my dear. Which leads me to the “creepy” factor of this elf “watching” my child. Truthfully, the elf creeps me out more than he does Davey.

Santa Elf Davey on the mantle.
Santa Elf Davey on the mantle.

For years, I’ve watched Pinterest and Facebook feeds. I’ve seen pictures and read blogs about how all these wonderful moms (not me) find creative ways to place their elves. Some of them are ridiculous. For example, I’ve seen pictures of some elves who’ve left messes with flour, sugar, and even toothpaste and I’m led to question some of these moms. Don’t you want your child to behave and doesn’t the mess just encourage the same from your child?

This morning I read a blog from another mother about her Elf on the Shelf experience and it pushed me to write about my own. Much like Tabatha Kammann from the blog http://kooperscoop.blogspot.com/, I’ve felt the guilt of being a not so clever mom bearing down on my shoulders. I pulled out Santa Elf Davey a week and a half ago. That’s 11 days. And in those 11 days, Santa Elf Davey has only moved from his spot 5 times and they haven’t exactly been clever. This has prompted Davey to inquire about just how authentic Santa Elf Davey really is, after all the story does state that he will be in a different spot each morning. I haven’t exactly been following through on my end.

Santa Elf Davey in his original spot.
Santa Elf Davey in his original spot.

There’s a lot of unnecessary pressure with Elf on the Shelf, thanks to all you Overachieving Moms. I struggle just to remember to brush my teeth in the mornings, so how could you possibly expect me to remember to move Santa Elf Davey?

Thanks to Tabatha’s wonderful blog this morning, I was reminded that Santa Elf Davey has sat atop that surround sound speaker for 3 days (and the speaker idea was thanks to my husband remembering to move the darn elf). Davey’s already asked me once if Santa Elf Davey perhaps didn’t go see Santa on Sunday, the day Davey was his naughtiest. No, Davey, he told Santa. And Davey responds, “Mama, is he for real? He hasn’t moved in days.”

When you have a moment, check out Tabatha’s blog.

Virtual Toy Drive

The Greenville Health System’s Children’s Hospital in Greenville, SC is a wonderfully astounding facility. It is a Board Certified physicians care for more than 330,000 infants, children, and adolescents each year. New primary care offices have been opened up throughout the upstate to help the thousands of children who face some of the toughest of illnesses.

For years, our local NBC affiliate, WYFF, has sponsored the Children’s Hospital’s Virtual Toy Drive which allows for you to go to the website and buy a toy for a child. You can do this anonymously, as my husband and I choose to do, or you may attach your name along with a warm Christmas greeting and blessings. Most everyone within the Upstate of South Carolina is aware of this toy drive, but for those of you who are new to the area or new to blog, I wanted to let you know just a bit more about it and encourage you to help.

I’ve written blogs about the heartbreaking pains of watching a child suffer through an illness. As a parent, you’re riddled with emotions, but think about those children who are forced to overcome these adversities. So many children will spend their Christmases in hospitals around the country instead of nestled snug in their beds at home. For many of them, the hospital beds have become their homes and they hold their heads high and continue to trod through life. Regardless as to how these children cope or where they may do it, you and I have a responsibility to provide for those who are less fortunate.

Over the course of the holiday season, you’ll read blogs from me encouraging you to donate. Take a look at your children and be thankful for their health, their happiness, and their life. Step back and reevaluate those gifts you plan to purchase for your child(ren) and consider paring it down and purchasing a gift for a child in need. I’m posting a link to the Virtual Toy Drive in this blog, but also to my blog roll at the right of the screen.

Please, please consider purchasing a gift for a child less fortunate than your own. Help bring back the Christmas spirit not just for those children, but for society as well. And consider donating your time even if it’s only for one day.

http://www.ghschildrens.org/virtual-toy-drive.php

Another Chapter

Let’s be honest here…I knew there would be sadness, but I didn’t know to this level. Does this sadness change my mind about my decision? Absolutely not. I’m just shocked.

The past few weeks I’ve begun the cleaning up and cleaning out process of baby toys and clothing. Since my husband and I made the decision to have a tubal ligation, I see no need in keeping my house cluttered with baby paraphernalia. I’ve separated out the stained from the pristine, the broken from the fully functional, the slightly used to the completely demolished. I’ve offloaded some of said product at consignment stores, sales, craigslist, and even the Salvation Army.

The first batch was a set of newborn to 3 month old clothing. Truly, this didn’t sadden me as I saw how quickly people were snatching the items up at the consignment sale and my check was growing larger. It was nice to see some money coming from the items, especially since we operate off of one income. The next thing to go was the Mamaroo, which was by far one of our greatest purchases if not for Davey then definitely for Henry. It’s like the Bentley of swings and retails for $200. Davey didn’t use it quite so much, but for the first month of Henry’s life, this was literally the only thing he would sleep in. It became my saving grace, my little piece of sanity in an otherwise crazy world.

I posted the item on craigslist and sold it promptly. As I drove downtown to meet the mother who was to purchase the swing, I had an intense level of excitement. We were getting $100 for this bad boy, something that didn’t cost us a single penny thanks to baby showers and gift cards. We were literally profiting off of this and I was excited to have the cumbersome thing out of my house, but something happened when I put it into the back of the mother’s van. I stroked the seat and walked her through the mechanics of the swing. I touched the spot I had dutifully cleaned where Henry’s diaper had leaked out and I thought back to those days of him whimpering while he slept, the little stretches and yawns, while the swing rocked him off to dreamland. I thought about the nights I was wide awake with him, sitting downstairs in the recliner with the television on, while he rocked away sleepily in the swing. I thought about how he slept through Christmas in that swing…his first Christmas, just 12 days old. And for a brief moment, as the van drove away, I had a lump in my throat. That one little swing had so many memories.

Today, I hauled off a few other items to the Salvation Army. More clothing, accessories, and even Davey and Henry’s tummy time mat. I watched as the gentleman working the garage haphazardly took the contraption from my hands and tossed it into a bin. My mind starting thinking about those poor toys from the movie Toy Story and then it drifted off to what memories were stored up in that little mat. Davey had his roll over on that mat. I was still working at that point. My house was a disaster, I was a disaster, but nothing else mattered except for life around Davey and watching him as he rocked himself a few times before finally flipping from his back to his tummy. What a proud moment that was. And then there’s Henry and his first roll over at just about the same age as his big brother. Now the mat is off to hopefully create new memories with other families.

All of these thoughts have begun to swirl through my head lately and it saddens me. My boys are growing. Chapters have been written, memories made, and new chapters are in progress. I can always unfold those previous chapters in my brain, to read through them at any point, but they are done. There are no more like those, which has its up and downs. It saddens me that I won’t have this opportunity with another child. Does it sadden me to the point of regretting my decision? Absolutely not. I’m blessed and fortunate with the two healthy, happy, smart little boys I have. I’m sure I could handle a third, but at almost the age of 40, I don’t think I really want to.

There are still items left in the house…baby toys, the jumparoo, and even ride on cars for which Davey is much too big, but Henry is just getting to the age to enjoy. There are more memories to be made and I look forward to each waking morning when I get the opportunity to make those memories. Still, I never really knew how much purging my house of never to be used again baby items would affect me.

Summer Break…Just a Day Away

I remember the first day I dropped him off. I was nervous, more so about whether I would remember everything I needed. Would I forget to pack his lunch and what about diapers? But then, I got us on the road and walked my little man into his first official “class” (more of a mother’s morning out, but he’s still in a classroom setting). I smiled as he proudly walked in with his backpack and Toy Story lunch box. He was excited and I was sad. I thought for sure he would cry or grab onto my legs and beg me to stay, but not Davey Doser. Instead, he pushed me away and said, “Mama go. Davey stay and play.” So, I kissed him goodbye and walked out the door before he saw the tear fall down my cheek.

I’d been looking forward to this day, just because being a stay-at-home mom can be tough. I longed for a day to have to myself, to clean the house, to read a book, to take a nap. I had anxiously counted down the days and had convinced myself that it would be a piece of cake to take him. Never did I imagine the feeling in the pit of my stomach. Never did I think he wouldn’t want me to stay.

Days went by and weeks became months. We developed our routine and Davey quickly learned that Tuesday meant he was going to see Mrs. Beth (his teacher). He was excited, always waking up and knowing when Tuesday had arrived. He came home with stories of friends, playground misfortunes, and even the blessing that he says now before every meal.

Every week, there was a new craft waiting in his cubby from the week before. Some days it was especially made for me and other days were just little paintings to go along with the Bible stories, shapes and colors of the week. He was learning so much and was proud to show it to me.

One of my favorite crafts from Davey.
One of my favorite crafts from Davey.

The days during Christmas break were hard. Davey had a new baby brother AND he was away from Mrs. Beth for almost four weeks! He cried for her a couple of times, but quickly told me that he loved me most. He woke up on Tuesday mornings with the anticipation of going to see her, only to be disappointed when I would tell him not today.

Finally, Christmas break was over, but the frigid temperatures and snowfall began. School was closed and Davey’s heart sank. When the snow melted and everything began to thaw, we were back on our routine once again. I was relieved and Davey was happy to have someplace to go where his little brother wasn’t.

And now we’ve come to the end of the year. I’ve explained to Davey that tomorrow is his last day with Mrs. Beth. He says he’ll see her again, which may be true. I don’t think he fully realizes that next Tuesday morning when he wakes up, it will just be the three of us (me, him, and Henry). I think he’ll be alright. I know he’ll be alright, but it still saddens me to know that this chapter of his life is now over. I almost want to cry. This wonderful woman has been a blessing not just to me, but also to my son. He loves her and tells her this every time he leaves her class. When we pass the church, Davey exclaims, “That’s Mrs. Beth’s house, let’s go see her.” Usually I answer with, “we’ll see her on Tuesday.” That won’t be the answer anymore.

So, to thank her and her assistant for taking such wonderful care of my precious cargo, Davey and I decided to make them a couple of teacher appreciation gifts.

Davey's gifts to his teachers.
Davey’s gifts to his teachers.

And as a side note, thank you to all of you teachers out there who sacrifice your time to take care of those that are precious to us.

And That’s A Wrap

I’m always torn when the Christmas holiday comes to an end. There’s a side of me who is anxious to have my house back in some semblance of order, but then there’s the side who’s regretful as to how quickly the time passed and what I didn’t get to do. This year, thanks in no small part to the birth of Henry, a lot of the plans were left to the wayside.

We did; however, have the opportunity to make cookies with Davey. I did at least get two Christmas trees up (leaving the other 5 packed away in the attic for another year of hibernation). We were able to celebrate Christmas with my family, but as for my husband’s family in Western NY, we were forced to celebrate with them via Skype and Face Time.

Decorating Cookies
Decorating Cookies

I’d had grandiose plans of getting cookies and milk out for Santa and reading Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Christmas Story (directly from the Bible in Luke Chapter 2). I thought this year would be a great year to start that tradition with Davey. He loves to read and it just seemed like the appropriate thing to do. Alas, that was not to happen because Christmas Eve already seemed much too packed for him, not to mention the fact that he didn’t take a nap so he was suffering from a quadruple dose of the Terrible Twos.

Christmas has started taking on a new meaning for me, the older I’ve become and especially since I’ve become a mother. Gone are the days when I was anxious to open presents. Instead, they’ve been replaced with the joy of seeing my son open his presents. I loved seeing his expression, his genuine happiness and sincere hugs and “thank yous” to those who bought him gifts. I’ve enjoyed watching old classics that I grew up on like “Frosty the Snowman” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, with my son. He comprehends so much and nothing brought a tear to my eye more than the fact that he watched Charlie Brown so much, he was then able to learn the words to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

Unwrapping Presents
Unwrapping Presents

Fortunately, we have a wonderful church family who have been able to step in while I was on bed rest before Henry was born. Davey learned the true meaning of Christmas through them and even brought his Bible to me during the Christmas season and asked for me to read the story of Jesus’ birth. So, I did get the opportunity to read it to him, just not in the Norman Rockwell romantic way of sitting by the fire with our warm socks on, a cup of milk, cookies placed strategically on the table beside the fireplace, and Christmas music playing in the background.

As with everything in life, I have these grand visions and when I don’t seem to accomplish them I feel like I’ve had a huge let down, like my balloon has been deflated prematurely. I felt this way as I undecorated one of our Christmas trees yesterday. I took a moment to look at the new ornaments we’d added this year…one for Henry and his first Christmas, another for Davey (these two courtesy of my mom and dad), and three new “handmade” ornaments from Davey. I smiled as I remembered how excited he was to bring them home from church and school and how he’d chosen exactly where they needed to be hung.

Another Christmas has come and gone. We’ve added a new member to our family and celebrated our many blessings with family and friends. I’ve already started planning for next year, Henry’s first to actual participate, and I’m feeling with joy and excitement with the new memories we’ll be creating. And to all of you, I hope that your Christmas was as stressed and relaxing, happy and boisterous, and memorable and loving as ours.

First Week is in the Books!

I often spent many a night before Henry was born wondering how we were going to handle two children in the house. I pondered how difficult it would be with a newborn and even worried about my two year old becoming more rebellious than normal. I imagined everything I possibly could, most of which was bad, before we were discharged from the hospital. As the nurse was transporting me down to the car, my newborn son cradled into my arms, an immense fear seemed to take hold of me and I felt as if a heavy boulder was pushing down on my chest. Where was all of my excitement and bliss about my sweet little baby? Where were all the daydreams about a happy, romantic family ala the days of Norman Rockefeller or the Waltons? All feelings I’d had when my son was first born and placed into my arms quickly dissipated and reality set in. Could I do this? Well, let’s just fill you in on week one…

My husband had to work all week. There wasn’t a grace period of sorts like there was with Davey. He’s been promoted since the days when Davey was born and with that promotion comes much larger responsibilities. If he were in his old job, he would have been home, but if he were in his old job, I wouldn’t be a stay-at-home mom, either. So, Tuesday started out the first official day of being home with Henry and with Davey and it was a piece of cake. Davey had school, so my husband went into work late to take him. My mom and dad came to stay with me and help out with Henry. Piece of cake. Flash forward to that evening when my husband came home from work and informed me that he had to be in Pinehurst, NC for a job all day on Wednesday (a 5 hour drive from our house). As a side note, I hope the project manager for this job gets a bag of poop from Santa. Because of this job, the rest of the week became a catastrophe.

Wednesday morning, my husband took me and Henry to Henry’s first doctor’s appointment and my dad stayed with Davey. Thanks to the C-section and the pain medication, I was unable to drive us. At least the one side perk to this day was that Henry had gained 4 ounces in 2 days! He IS my little porker. After depositing us back at home with my dad, my husband drove back to work, got his rental car and took off east bound and down for NC. He was not to return until 8 o’clock that evening. Thankfully, my mother had arrived in the afternoon and we had a wonderful dinner. Now here’s where the week gets better (insert sarcasm) and once again I blame it on the Pinehurst trip. Did I say that I wanted Santa to leave the project manager a bag of poop? I did? Well, let’s make that a BIG bag of poop.

Thursday morning, my husband walked out the door for work only to find that the rental car he was driving had been broken into. Sigh. So, between entertaining my 2 year old and nursing my 6 day old, I had to call the police, file a report, get my husband back here, have forensics go over the car, contact the rest of the board on our HOA (I’m one of the V.P.’s), get a post on our neighborhood Facebook page, and call a locksmith. I hope this thief gets just as big a bag of poop as the project manager in Pinehurst. And oh, by the way, my parents informed me they could not come over first thing on Friday morning to help because their freezer had gone out and they needed to find a way to salvage a few thousand dollars worth of food. Again…sigh. Surely, Friday would be better!

Friday rolls around and to start the day off on the right note, Henry had started sleeping 4 hour increments at night! Woo hoo! Unfortunately, my husband didn’t get to really enjoy the extra sleep seeing as how he had to be on the road at 4:30 for another day of travel that probably would not end until after 8 o’clock again. It was ok, because I was hitting my stride with a toddler and a newborn. So, just when I thought everything was under control, we lost power. I called the power company while dealing with an antsy toddler and a screaming newborn only to have the lady tell me there was no power outage. I’m sorry!?!? Did we forget to pay our powerbill? Come to find out there was a fire at a local substation. We were without power for 3 hours. And while at first I became frantic, I quickly slid into play mode with my 2 year old while my one week old slept. The other plus side to the day was that at least my husband was able to come home early and we could go to a family Christmas party where I was informed that I didn’t look like I’d just had a baby a week before. SCORE! Insert a HUGE happy smile and even a happy dance.

So, long story short, I survived the first week. Davey is adapting very well to having a little brother. When Henry cries, he says, “Don’t cry, Henry, it be ok.” Every morning he greets Henry with a handshake and a “nice to see you, Henry.” Henry seems to enjoy the Mamaroo which means my hands are free to do a lot more. It may not be as glamorous or romantic as what’s portrayed in Hollywood, but it’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever had. Here’s looking forward to the rest of our lives.