My eight-year-old son just educated me on Elf on a Shelf.
He first met one in first grade, you see. The elf sits somewhere in the room to keep tabs on everyone, to see if you should wind up on the Naughty List or the Nice List. “Nobody is allowed to touch the elf,” he says with all seriousness. At night, the elf heads up to the North Pole to file his reports, then he comes back — which is why he winds up in another part of the room.
What Jacob didn’t need to say was, “Since nobody is allowed to touch the Elf, well, you can see why we have proof this Elf business is legit.”
Jacob is the sweetest boy who ever lived. I know all fathers are supposed to say such things, but in this case, it’s true. He looks at the world with a genuine, wide-eyed innocence and curiosity that I don’t want to risk bursting any bubble. I mean, we’ve never had an Elf, and somehow Santa has always known Jacob belongs on the Nice List, right?
That talk is coming. And the one about the Tooth Fairy. And the Easter Bunny. All of it. My wife recently pointed out that Jacob is less than two years away from the age where she got The Talk about where babies come from. Then she threw up in her mouth a little.
It’s all inevitable, of course. I’m finding myself mentally practicing the conversations, trying to find the perfect way to teach him what’s what, without somehow spoiling the essence of what makes him so special.
He’s spoiled me, you see. He’ll still hold my hand in a store, or run to give me a hug in front of his friends. He’ll draw me pictures just because, and I can’t tell you the last time he was mad at me.
It won’t always be that way. That’s just as inevitable, I’m afraid.
But for now, I’d just like to make sure I’m taking note of how special this time is, and how magical it all is — for me. To share in that wonder and innocence is an amazing thing.
As I’m typing this, Jacob spotted a spooky spider on the wall. “Oh my!” was his reaction.
Just wait, Jake’n’Bake. There’s a lot more coming.