Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Mom's Idea

Do you ever have those moments as a mother when you realize your mom really did know what she was doing? I have always loved that my mom stayed home with us growing up and have aspired to be such a mommy to Abigail. But my mom had an idea she should have patented twenty-five years ago. Because I'm pretty sure she thought it up first. I was there, I would know.

When I was nursery school, Mom tells me, I had grown quite the little Miss Independent attitude. I wanted to choose my own clothes, whether they were weather-appropriate or not. I wanted to eat only certain foods, probably cheesy hot dogs or something. Basically, I was like any other five-year-old headstrong kid. My mom said she always felt exhausted at the end of the day, like all she had done was scold and discipline me and Jason, my older brother. Then she would peek in on us while we were sleeping, and realize what little angels we truly were. In our sleep only, of course.

So, in her desperation to enjoy her kids and not scold them all the time....I totally understand this feeling with Abigail....she came up with an idea.

And Tiny the Elf was born.

Tiny the Elf is one of Santa's little helpers. But unlike Santa, we get to hear from Tiny ALL December and not just on Christmas day. Tiny was talked up a lot at our house, but we never saw him. We knew he was watching us, though, and reporting back to Santa whether we were making good choices or bad choices. It wasn't just his report to Santa that straightened us up, though. It was the notes he left us all month. I would wake up in the morning to a note on my bedside table. Or I would go out to breakfast to find a note next to my cereal bowl. Or there would be a note on top of my shoes. The notes from Tiny were always positive and pointing out all of the good choices he had seen me make.

If I helped my mom pick out a pretty Christmas dress at the store and was a good shopping buddy, Tiny heard. If I ate my green beans at dinner, Tiny noticed. If I chose to wear jeans and a sweater to nursery school on that cold December day instead of my swimsuit, Tiny saw. If I went to bed without arguing, Tiny complimented me. They were simple little notes, usually hand-written on a note card.....I didn't recognize the hand-writing yet. And I LOVED knowing that Tiny noticed all of the good things I was choosing to do. I loved it so much, I kept all of his notes to me in a scrapbook to this day.

See? My mom was a genius. IS a genius. :) And now some lady came up with a thing called Elf on a Shelf. Same idea....Elf in the house, and he's watching you. My mom should have patented Tiny. She did get a little porcelain elf for me last year, though, to use for just this occasion.

Last night, I pulled out Tiny the Elf. We never actually had a "physical" Tiny to see when I was little. We just talked about him, and he would leave notes while we were sleeping. But having a little elf figurine works well, too. We talked about Tiny to Abigail, and that he would be watching her all month to see if she was making good choices or bad choices. She straightened up and smiled just talking about him. I told her he would be leaving her notes when he saw her make good choices. Then we walked into her room, and wouldn't you know it? Tiny the elf was sitting on her bookshelf. I said that he was watching her, and that he would be moving around the house, so she would have to keep an eye out for him. So far, it is working like a charm.

It worked for me for at least 20 years. I plan on using it exhaustively. Feel free to use Tiny to keep a little order and positive attitude at your house, too. Because my poor mom didn't patent him, so he is free to hire out.

Oh, and having a December birthday when I was little made Tiny visit my birthday party, too. I had a slumber party in 2nd grade, and Tiny wrote notes for all of the girls there. Then my mom got phone calls then next day from parents wanting to know who Tiny was and why her daughter was crying because Tiny didn't come to her house, too. So, heads up, friends. You may want to share Tiny with the world so that you don't have crying kids and parents upset with you.

Abigail has been making very good choices all day, from eating extra bites of her soup at lunch to going down for her nap with barely a whimper.....barely. Tiny works, people. That is a Christmas freebie from me. I love you, Mom....you genius.


Anonymous said...

What a lovely blog! I read on the "Elf on a Shelf" site that he was "born" in the 70's also. I truly looked more forward to the Tiny letters being found by you and Jason than I did Christmas gift opening....because , through those, I really DID notice the things you two did RIGHT! I hope he takes good care of my granddaughter. Be sure to feed him sometimes before she goes to bed....he loves cheese and crackers and homemade cookies....and CHOCOLATE. Have her write HIM some notes for future Mom treasures! Love you!

nickmal said...

Amy, Could this be one of your Gilgal moments...you've come full circle?