Okay. Last year we bought this advent calendar in the shape of a Santa at Target’s after Christmas clearance. And this year we began a “tradition” where every night on the 25 days of December leading up to Christmas, the elves come and bring Julia a little something.
I know I know. Over-indulgence. Believe you me, I wouldn’t have started this lovely tradition except my friend JENNIE does this every year with her two boys JAKE and ZACH. And last Christmas every day on the way to school Julia was privvy to their excited ramblings about what the elves brought them the night before. Naturally, she wanted to know why the heck the elves came to them but not to such a nice, well-behaved young lady as herself. Being a tale-spinner from way back, I tried to spin some tale about different families and different holiday traditions starting hundreds of years ago. But she wasn’t having any of it. And thus, a tradition was born.
As if I didn’t have enough to do prepping for the holidays. Now I also have to come up with something clever every night for 25 nights for the elves to bring! And since Julia is up at the crack of dawn and sometimes she falls asleep AFTER me, I’ve often had to tip-toe downstairs at 4 am to put something in the #$%@# calendar.
Anyway, one of the things the elves bring is money. Coins. Quarters, dimes, nickels. And since we have started this tradition (three weeks ago now) Julia has been like a magpie and squirreled away everything she’s gotten from the elves in a shoebox that she calls her “trinket box”. Even the chocolates. Don’t ask me why. It’s probably that same gene that (when I was a kid) made my Halloween candy last from October until May (much to the dismay of my brothers who downed theirs in a day).
That was a whole big preface to what happened this weekend.
So we got back from errands and while I went to wrap gifts with my newly acquired wrapping paper, Julia made a beeline for the potty. Right on schedule as she’d had her Saturday morning donut and milk just an hour before. She’s nothing if not regular.
Anyway. suddenly, mid-wrap I hear a blood-curdling SCREAM come from the bathroom. My mommy mind immediately went to all manner of horrific scenarios including one in which she somehow managed to slip off the potty into the tub, cracking her head on the faucet. “I knew it was too soon to take the rubber polar bear faucet cover off!” I thought as I raced to the bathroom.
I FLUNG open the door. She stood there, bare butted, in front of the toilet SOBBING.
ME: Jules! What’s wrong?!
JULIA: My nickel. It fell in the toilet!
ME: What are you talking about? What nickel?
JULIA: My nickel from the elves!
Sure enough, she was holding her “trinket box” full of chocolates and coins and wind-up Santas.
TONI: What were you doing looking at your trinket box while you were going potty?
JULIA: I don’t know. I just was. Mom! You HAVE to get it!
ME: Honey. It’s just a nickel.
JULIA: No. The ELVES brought it! It’s special!
Ah yes. The “special” nickel. What have I wrought?
I looked down in the toilet. I saw a LOT of stuff but no nickel.
ME: Uh, I don’t see it. Maybe it didn’t fall in there.
JULIA: It did! It did! Get it mamma! Pleeeeeease!
I love my kid. And I’ll do almost anything for her. And I have gone through great lengths to impress upon her the importance of saving money and not being wasteful. But there’s waste and then there’s WASTE.
I drew the line. And by drawing the line, I mean I lied.
ME: Julia. I’m sure you didn’t lose a nickel in there. I’m sure it’s on the floor.
JULIA: (calming down) Really?
ME: I’m positive.
Knowing it probably wasn’t on the floor, I planned on planting a substitute somewhere on the floor when she wasn’t looking.
ME: Now pull up your pants and then I’ll help you look.
As she pulled up her pants, I flushed the toilet. And as I did… the loud CLINK CLINK CLINKING of metal being swished around the porcelain bowl could distinctly be heard. And we both saw a flash of silver just before the bowl emptied with a rush of water.
Sigh. Guess tomorrow calls for an extra special gift from the elves. Maybe a Webkinz? Thanks a lot Jennie.