The Mummy Diaries – Elf and safety for toddlers

The Mummy Diaries – Elf and safety for toddlers

by Emma Hargan
article from Monday 14, December, 2020

ELEVEN more sleeps to go! After my blog last week, I would like to thank you guys who took the time to give me their tips and advice on how to keep the little darlings away from the Christmas tree and off the naughty step. And it has worked! Well, that and the power of Santa. 

You see, usually when the kids are acting up and being naughty at home, we have the naughty step at the bottom of the stairs which works well for us. A minute for every year of their age and usually after they have done their time, on the step by themselves they have calmed down enough to realise what they have done and say sorry. Now I wouldn’t normally put them on the naughty step for touching the tree but I would put them on the step for taking off a load of baubles to apparently make a sparkly soup for Barbie and to decorate the fireguard with so much tinsel that Fireman Sam would have panic attacks!

So what changed?

Well, one of the pieces of advice was to buy a wee felt Christmas tree and let the kids decorate it with felt hanging ornaments. Again, it was Granny in her magical Amazon cape to the rescue who had already ordered this for me after one of my meltdown Skypes and thankfully the postman landed the following morning to save the day. This kept Lily and Jamie amused for a few days and thankfully away from our tree.

By midweek, the novelty of the felt tree was starting to wear off with Jamie but it seemed to have done the trick, as the novelty of our tree had obviously worn off as well. Lily on the other hand was a whole different ball game. She was happy to play with her tree but then decided to decorate it with the baubles and tinsel from the big tree.

“Lily, you have your own decorations for your tree. You can’t touch the big tree because it’s magic.” I said knowing rightly I would have more chance of winning the lottery than Lily not going near the tree again.

“No mummy, I need more del-o-gations for my tree and those ones are sparkly.” Lily replied.

Fox. Ache.

Right, time to pull out the big guns I thought. And who better to help me out than the only person in the whole world who has the power to sway a child’s behaviour at this time of year? Yip, Mr Claus himself. 

But the problem is, we all know that Santa is so busy at this time of year that he can’t keep an eye on all the boys and girls at Christmas time. So, this is where Elwyn the Elf steps in. (Or Elf on the sodding shelf as I think he’s best known).

“Right Lil, you know how Elwyn is magic and moves about at night time?” I said.

“Yes.” Says Lily looking at me wondering where this is going.

“Well you know how you can’t touch Elwyn because he’ll lose his magic powers and then he can’t report back to Santa if you and Jamie have been good and will get presents?” I asked.

“Uh huh.” Replies Lily.

“Well, the Christmas tree is the same. Every time you touch the Christmas tree it loses a bit of magic, which means Elwyn loses his magic too. If you keep touching the tree and the baubles, one morning you will wake up and Elwyn will have disappeared.” I said. At this point Jamie stops what he’s doing and looks up.

“How come you can touch the tree mummy?” Jamie asked.

“Because I’m a grown up and grown ups don’t have the same magic that kids do.” I answer on my feet.

The two of them look over at Elwyn.

“Is that why Elwyn hasn’t moved in two days mummy?” Jamie asks.

Fox. Ache.

“Err, yes exactly! He’s losing his magic because you guys keep pulling stuff off the tree.” I said.

“Oh no mummy, Elwyn’s going to disappear.” Says Lily with the bottom lip starting to go.

“No, he won’t go if you listen to what I’m saying. The longer you leave the tree alone, the more magic Elwyn will have and he can report back to Santa and tell him how good you’ve been. Okay?” I say, trying to be strict without causing a crying match and traumatise the kids at the same time.

“Okay mummy!” Lily smiles and wanders off.

“So is Elwyn losing his magic then mummy? What happens after he disappears? Does he die?” Jamie fires out the questions.

“Err, who wants to play Playdough?” I ask.

“Yayyyyyyy!” They both shout.

Distraction tactics in place and crisis averted (technique picked up from Gramps, who has twice been a politician).

That evening, after we got the kids to bed, I made sure I wasn’t going to forget to move Elwyn. Neither Lily or Jamie had gone near the tree since our chat, so the least I could do was to keep my end of the bargain up.

Right, where to place him this time? I wondered. Then it hit me! I’ll put Elwyn near the top of the Christmas tree and I can tell the kids he must have moved there because the tree has its magic back. Yes, sorted, job done!

Saturday morning. And the kids were up at their usual time but happy to play in their rooms. James said that I could have a wee lie-in and he would take Jamie and Lily downstairs for their breakfast.

Result!

Although I think James and I both thought I would get longer than 10 minutes…

I heard them all trample downstairs. Then I heard James asking what they wanted for breakfast. Then a lot of mumbling and rustling, laughing and singing. Then I heard doors slamming shut, the mumblings getting louder and then crying.

James comes running up the stairs.

“Emma, you need to come down and see to them. They can’t see Elwyn and Jamie said that he disappeared and died and now Lily’s crying.” James says. “Like, where does he hear these things?

“Err, I might have mentioned something about Elwyn losing his magic if they touch the tree and ultimately he disappears...”, I said.

“Nothing like a good traumatising to make them listen then.” Says James sarcastically.

I went downstairs to find Jamie getting wired into his Weetabix and Lily sitting sobbing on the sofa.

“What’s up Lil?” I asked.

“Elf’s gone! We made him disappear!” Lily says in despair.

“How could he be gone? You guys were really brilliant yesterday and never touched the tree! He must be around here somewhere. Come on, lets look.” I said optimistically.

So, we roamed through every room downstairs and then the next thing…

“Mummy, Mummy look!!” Roars Jamie from the living room.

Lily lets go of my hand and bolts through to Jamie, who’s pointing to Elwyn on the tree.

“See! I told you he hadn’t disappeared.  You guys just weren’t looking hard enough”, I said. 

“He must have moved to the tree because it’s got its magic back”, I said.

Their faces were a picture. 

Moral of the story? Maybe think your magical story through first. At least mine ended well after traumatising them first.

So all Jamie and Lily have to do now is not touch the tree. And all I have to do is to remember to move that sodding elf!

As for me, I’m away for a nice bath and to work on my elf care!   

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