It's taken a lot of explaining to get Carter on board with the Elf on the Shelf tradition. I think his vocab is pretty decent, but definitely not up to snuff enough to process that the elf is watching him, leaves, talks to Santa and comes back every night. And magical? How do you explain that word? The only part he really perks up at is when Santa Claus is going to bring him more trucks. He completely accepts that he's not allowed to touch the elf, which is awesome because, for that, we've totally avoided the mega tantrums I was expecting.
For the first two days, he pointed at the elf throughout the day and exclaimed, Look! Efff! When he did that, I'd go on my tangent, Yeah! He's watching you to see if you're good ... and so on. On day three, to my surprise, he came downstairs, and the first thing he did before requesting his morning milk was look for the missing elf. I hadn't even mentioned it.
Mommy, Eff go? Mommy, Eff go?
We were behind with gearing up for Christmas, so we only have about a week of Elf hunting under our belts.
Here's my advice for Elf on the Shelf with a two year old who barely grasps the concept of Christmas:
It helps if the house area surrounding the elf is clean and clutter-free. This makes it easier to find the elf and spotlights how special he is compared to other (unseen) toys.
For the first few days, put it in spots that are unreachable while you're explaining the purpose of the elf.
There are hundreds of scenario ideas floating around on the internet. I try not to read them and come up with my own. Make it do the things your toddler can do & relate to. These are the things that make him amazing and funny.
Don't accept limitations. If you have an idea, make it happen. Use tape.
Make a special phone call just so he/she can tell Daddy what the elf is doing every day.
I love having a boy, but I really feel like one of the great handicaps of my Carter's gender hits its pitfall in the clothing department. Little girls can get away with wearing princess dresses and tutus whenever the mood strikes. Not to mention tights, leggings, jeggings, knee socks, bows, skirts, you name it. The most I can offer Carter is a Thomas T-shirt and maybe the occasional hat with ears.
Last week Carter got a CAPEkid tee from Leap of Faith Clothing. My plan was to pull it over him and take a picture of the reaction on his face simultaneously. It's sooo blurry, but I'm sharing anyway because I want you to feel the proudness radiating off his little chest and warming the light of your computer screen.
Our culdesac is safer, and women of all ages weaken at his passing. The little bumble we knew is no more. Meet Captain Carter.
The cape attaches with two small, matching velcro patches on the shoulders of the shirt, so you can easily take it off and on. Leap of Faith was spot on with this awesome toddler trend (for boys and girls). It's so fun for him to wear and explore stores while we're doing our Christmas shopping; the surprised admiration on fellow shoppers' faces swooning down in his direction never gets old. I'm mentally tagging this one as our next birthday party theme idea.
Go get your little hero's CAPEkid tee personalized for FREE with the coupon code CAPEFREE. If you want to share this idea with your friends, you can go Like their Facebook page!
Haven't they invented paperless crayons yet? The paper completely distracts us from any potential creative development we might get if we actually colored.
When we do get around to drawing, the only thing he requests be drawn for him is a sad whale. (Don't ask. I have no idea.)
.. when I clicked through my footage and was hit with this face
He looks a little tired with a slight handsome edge. His eyes don't innocently wonder. They know.
You might expect me to continue on this thought about how I'm sad, I miss the bumbling baby, innocence is gone forever and so on and whine on.
But I'm not sad. I don't miss the baby. It sounds harsh, but when I think back on the days when Carter couldn't talk or walk, all I can remember is what a struggle everything was and my desperate attempts to memorize the fleeting fat on his baby face - because I loved it, yes, but also because They grow up fast was being chanted at me from every direction. I don't fully remember Carter in his infancy. Just the words I can't, I don't have time and I'm tired. I remember everything was hard. When I hear about my friends getting pregnant, I remember how exciting the unknown can be, and then I'm a little relieved that I got past it all.
I'm loving this age above all other ages. The bobbling cuteness has worn off, but the 'little person' cuteness is at its dawn. Dust is settling. Having come through years of panicking to appease every waking need, it's a strange relief to find minutes or even an hour pass where he needs nothing from me.
My husband and I can turn some focus back to our marriage (instead of each other's throats) and have full, hilarious conversations with Carter. I can reason with him, explain things to him, and he just flat out accepts it all. Manners? Ok. First vegetables, then cookies? Ok. Put it in the trash? Ok.
He has the best heart. I don't have to flop onto my bed in frustrated surrender anymore, wondering how to stop the crying and whining. It's easy to tell that all he wants for his life today are hugs, fun, a cup full of milk and anything with wheels.
I used to desperately want a baby. Had I known what my baby would become in two years, this is what I would have desperately wanted.
Check out the Christmas card I made!
Carter's a little blurrier than I wanted him to be, but I liked the expression on his face in this shot. The printed version didn't turn out as striking as it looks on the computer. I'm not great with photography, but here are my tips for low light pictures like this:
*Turn the flash off, and increase your ISO. Mine was 400.
*Use a tripod (for me, it was an empty Pottery Barn box)
*Bribe the baby. Explain to him what you want him to do (sit against the wall), and then tell him what you'll give him after he does it. In our case, it was a lollypop. Fifty shots and a lollypop later, it was chocolate. Talk to him about something that amuses him while you're shooting.
*Edit on the computer (I use Picnik). I increased sharpness, exposure and contrast. Decreased the color and temperature. I added text. I created the pale yellow splotches above his head with the Clone feature.
Here are some of the other pictures I took that didn't make the Christmas card cut.
I've had my phone glued to my hand for the past two days, since I discovered Path. It's an app for iPhone and Android that's comparable to Twitter & Facebook walls but simpler and more fun. I love that you can smile at and ♥ your friends' posts. I'm 90% sure you can't access it online, though. I tried.
Get it and find me!
Hello out there to anyone still checking on this deserted page. I've run through I hundred ways to write an explanation in my head, and I still don't have any crafty words for you. Just the truth.
I haven't been feeling myself lately. I can't pinpoint an exact reason; nothing is wrong. The baby's cute as ever. House is beautiful. Husband, loving. For about two weeks I had an unpurposeful, painful, sinking feeling in my heart that I couldn't talk myself out of.
I avoid trying to explain this to anyone, because unless you've felt it, it sounds like what it is - crazy. Depression? Anxiety? Panic? I don't know. But it was definitely something heavy, and I couldn't stand it.
I could have sat and written some fairly dark-sided stuff, but I decided to just leave the page blank and do whatever people did before there was internet. When I considered opening my computer to write, I kept having the same thought.
That's been my answer for a lot of things. Sometimes I feel like I drowned in my own quest for perfection and was thrown into a complete loss for words. When I thought about writing, it felt so trivial and inadequate. It got to the point where every day things, like cooking Carter breakfast, overwhelmed me.
Maybe this is the fate of stay at home moms after two years. Maybe it's just a wave that crashed on me, and some fabulous peak is on its way. It could be that the excitement of building a new house wore off, there might not be anymore babies, and I'm faced with the monotonous thought, So, this is it.
But, whatever the purpose of this blog, I owe its readers that explanation. I've written for more than two years.
My son is too cute to hide in the shadows of the internet.