A Visit from Nykstukas

That little elf to the left there, that’s Nykštukas. Now, in general, he’s only an elf. He’s used as a logo for various products and as the name for schools. He could be one of Santa’s helpers. In fact, the literal translation from Lithuanian is really any kind of small fantasy creature.

Now, here in Lithuania, there’s a series of kid’s books centered around a young girl character called Kakė Makė (not her real name, but one she’s chosen for herself). Kakė Makė is a typical character for books aimed at kids in the 4-7 range, in that most of her misadventures are designed to teach the kids reading (or, more likely, being read to) a lesson about life. There are stories about why it’s important to brush your teeth and stories about listening to your parents.

And stories about picking up your toys.

This is where this blog post comes in. See, in the stories about Nykštukas, when Kakė Makė doesn’t pick up her toys, the mischievous little creature comes in in the middle of the night and takes those toys away. Kakė Makė must then make the trip to retrieve her toys and, ideally, learns a lesson about cleaning up and not taking her things for granted.

I bet you can guess where this is going.

Yeah, yesterday Nykštukas paid a visit to our house and Monki’s “minnie games” disappeared for a while. “Minnie Games” is what she calls her iPad (named after the Minnie Mouse case which used to protect it). As can be assumed, she loves her electronic toy, using it to play her music in the car and to play games (almost all of which are educational) in the house during the day. She also uses it when she’s trying to poop.

This is a big deal, more so than us adults taking a book as we sit on the pot. See, ever since she was little, Monki has had issues with pooping – sometimes going as much as a week without relieving herself. This often means that when she feels the urge to go, she’ll sit on the toilet for a while and play her Minnie Games while she’s there. I only mention this to preface what happened yesterday.

She had been trying to poop (successfully as it turned out) and had been playing her game. When she was finished, she cleaned up and left the bathroom…leaving the iPad on the floor in the doorway. I asked her to pick it up and was assured it would be done soon.

Then I asked again. And again. Now, to be fair, while she’s generally good about putting her toys away, she has a problem remembering that the tablet needs to be plugged in and so will leave it wherever she had been playing with it. But usually, that isn’t on the floor in the middle of a high-traffic area.

After asking several times and being assured it would get done (and the device still sitting there)…well that’s when Nykštukas came by for a visit. Minnie Games disappeared from the bathroom floor. It took a while before its absence was noticed. Monki walked passed the spot numerous times but it wasn’t until she was sitting down to eat her dinner that she wanted it again.

“Will you get me Minnie Games?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said. “Where is it?”

“In the bathroom.”

I went to look and low and behold, it wasn’t there. And I told her so.

She got up to look and also didn’t find it there. “I know, I took it into my bedroom.” We trooped into her bedroom to look but it wasn’t there, either. Panic was beginning to set in.

We went back to the table so she could start her dinner and I asked her where it was and if she lost it. She wasn’t sure. Someone must have taken it, but since it was only me, her and mommy in the house, the options were sparse on the ground. Then I suggested Nykštukas might have come by.

And that’s when the crying started. She knows what it means when Nykštukas comes to your home. Playing dumb, I asked if maybe we could talk to the elf and see if he’d bring it back.

“But what if he won’t?” she said through flowing tears.

“Do you want me to talk to him?” I asked.

She just nodded.

I told her to keep eating her dinner and went into the bedroom and loudly had a “conversation” with him. We discussed that she shouldn’t leave her toys and games out but since she was good, just this once, he would give it back. Then, he “told” me where he’d put it and we went and “found” it. The tears soon stopped, and a discussion was had as to the merits of cleaning up.

We’ll see if it worked. Part of me wonders if Nykštukas should have kept the iPad until the morning (this was right before bedtime) and art of me hated myself for even doing this to begin with. I know she needs to learn not to leave her stuff lying around, especially expensive electronics, but at the same time, she’s 6½.

So, we’ll see. It’s looking positive since today she asked me to let Nykštukas know she would be leaving her Minnie Games out so it was in easy reach while mommy drys her hair after her bath. I dutifully let him know and he was grateful for the knowledge that she was being careful with her stuff. Hopefully, Nykštukas won’t come back, because someone is already waiting for Santa Clause.

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