Two years ago I bought into the whole Elf on the Shelf phenom. It seemed like every family I knew suddenly had one, and not wanting to be the bad mom and cheat my kids, I succumbed. At first blush, it seemed like a fun tradition to start, and the bonus would be motivating my kids to toe the line – at least during the holiday season, right? Santa’s little narc, right here in our very own home.
Well, the experience didn’t go so well. My kids were terrified of the thing (come walk down Memory Lane with me, won’t you?). Plus, I quickly realized that “tradition” translates to “giant pain in the ass.” Mom’s ass, to be specific, because it ain’t Dad thinking up creative places to place the Elf, and remembering to do it every damn night.
(Really, this is just another sadistic twist in the competitive game of Motherhood, isn’t it? The good moms not only remember to move the Elf, and find super fun things for the Elf to do in order to amuse their kids and keep the holiday magic alive, but they take photos of their Elves and post them to Facebook so that we slacker moms can feel like the losers we are.)
Well, after that scarring experience two years ago, I said “no more!” and stuffed the blasted Elf into a drawer where it’s remained, forgotten about, all this time.
Forgotten about until a couple of days ago, that is. Suddenly Annabelle (the child who was most terrified of it a couple years ago) got it in her head that the Elf must return, post haste! “Call Santa, Mommy, and tell him to send the Elf back! I’m not afraid anymore!” She said. “Mommy, did you call Santa yet?” “No.” “Mommy, will you call Santa tonight and tell him to send the Elf back to our house?” “Mommy, did you call Santa?” “Mommy, when will you call Santa?!?!”
Great balls of fire!
So, against my better judgment, I dug the Elf out last night and put him up on the top of the mirror in our dining room. The kids were thrilled to see him up there this morning.
Now, let me just stop for a second and wonder aloud how it is that Joey, age 10, no longer believes in the Halloween Ghost (an apparition who appears on Halloween night after the kids have gone to sleep and exchanges most of their candy haul for a toy or book; I made this up when Kevin was a tyke in order to convince him to willingly part with most of the crap he got trick-or-treating), but does still believe not only in Santa, but that this stupid, fake-looking Elf doll is a real elf. Go figure.
Then the questions start:
“Mommy, when did he get here?”
“Did you see him come in?”
“How did he get in the house?”
“Does he fly?”
“Does he talk?”
“Why does he look like a doll?”
“Will he talk to you while we’re at school?”
“Will he still be here when we get home from school?”
My favorite: “Mommy, I saw a bunch of boxes at Target that said ‘The Elf on the Shelf’ on them. What are those for?”
And leave it to Annabelle to climb up onto a chair to get a closer look. “Mommy, why does it look like he’s taped to the wall? I can see tape behind him. How come there’s tape on him?”
Listen, kid. If you keep up with the questions, your pal the Elf is going to take a header into the nearest garbage can.
I’m just not good at making up lies on the spot. I need time to weave my lies to make them more believable, so if my kids are expecting wise, magical answers from me, I’m sure they’re sorely disappointed. I give my standard answer to all of their questions pertaining to the Elf: “I. Don’t. Know.”
In any event, it does seem that our Elf is quite the rascal.
There he is, up on the dining room mirror (pretend you don’t see the dust up there). Oh my goodness, what in the world . . . ??
Well, I never!
Hey! That’s my vodka!!
Elf, you dawg! You da man!
Oh look! He shits mini chocolate chips! Isn’t it precious?
Happy freakin’ holidays!