Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Trauma Brought to You By Elf On the Shelf

The holiday season is upon us, and with it come my usual threats to the kids to behave and be nice because Santa is watching. I don't know if it's that they don't believe me that Santa is watching, or if they are all gamblers at heart and just choose to play the odds, realizing that no matter how naughty they've been in years past, somehow Santa never forgets them. Today I had my fill of the whining and bickering and refusal to be cooperative as I tried to move through the Witching Hour. I brought out the Big Guns: The Elf on the Shelf.

Are you familiar with this? I learned about it last year during the holiday season when several friends were talking about it. It sounded like such a brilliant idea, a fun way to keep the kids in line during the buildup to Christmas, with the added bonus of a new holiday tradition. In the box are a doll (heretofore referred to as "The Elf") and a book you read to your kids which explains The Elf's purpose and adventures. You, the parent, are supposed to find interesting, out-of-reach places for The Elf to sit from whence he can watch the children and make note of their behavior, and said children can tell The Elf (from a safe distance; if they touch The Elf, its magic powers are lost. Of course.) what they'd like Santa to bring them for Christmas. Each night after the kiddies are asleep, The Elf flies back to the North Pole, makes his report to Santa, and returns the next morning in a new location in the house. (This requires diligence on the parents' part; you have to remember to move the damn thing every night. I failed miserably last year.)

Anyway, so this evening as the girls were in the tub screaming and being general pains in the ass, I suddenly remembered The Elf, which I had not yet pulled out of the drawer I stuffed it into after Christmas last year. I quickly stole from the bathroom and stealthily placed The Elf on a high curtain rod in the girls' room, thinking when they got out of the tub, they'd go in their room to get their PJs on, see The Elf, exclaim in awe and wonder, and immediately shape up.

What ensued, instead, was utter hysteria. I got Annabelle out of the tub and dried off first, and sent her scampering into her room to get her jammies on. Roughly nine seconds later, a blood-curdling scream emanated from her room, and in a couple more seconds, she was back in the bathroom, howling in terror, and trembling - literally trembling. "THERE'S AN ELF IN MY ROOM!!!" she screamed over and over with tears and snot running down her face. This got Daisy immediately worked up and within seconds, she, too, was completely unglued, and she hadn't even seen The Damned Elf yet. Lilah was clearly on an adrenaline buzz from all the excitement, but so far she wasn't crying. Joey heard the ruckus and came running. "THERE'S AN ELF IN MY ROOM!!!" Annabelle wailed for the nineteenth time. Joey's eyes grew big and his breathing came a little faster, and he went to see for himself. "Wow, this proves Santa is real! I knew it!" he came back to report breathlessly.

Finally, after much cajoling, I convinced the girls to go into their room with me to check out this troublemaker, The Elf. Daisy and Annabelle refused to speak directly to The Elf and insisted I tell him on their behalf that they were scared and wanted him to leave.

(It was now coming back to me, vague memories of a similar scene last year . . .)

This continued all through dinner. Sitting at the table, Annabelle cried the entire time and positioned herself so that her back was towards the door to her room, as she didn't want a chance glimpse of The Freak Elf through walls and around three corners. Every noise she heard, she would jump and cry and go, "What was that?" thinking it was Satan Elf coming to get her.

I couldn't take it anymore, so finally I got up and said I was going to talk to The Home Invader Elf and ask it to leave. I chucked the damned thing back into the drawer where it spent the last year. And peace ensued.

All this over a doll.


Kandis said...

AAHHH,HAHAHA! That "DAMN" elf is right. Curse that Elf! Got it last year from my sister and my kids are obsessed with the thing. My son writes letters to it - which I mistakenly wrote back once last year and so he wants to write him EVERY night. And god forbid I forget to move it - I hear about it ALL day long..."mama - why do you think he didn't move last night?" That cracks me up that your kids are terrified of it, but really, the thing has that awful smile stuck on his face so I don't blame them. That is so funny!! The elf might not find his way back to our house next year...

diane rene said...

the thing IS scary looking.

my friend has used it for a year or more, she brings it out after thanksgiving. my kids don't believe in santa claus, but we do have fun pretending fairies are real and I've thought about having a magical fairy show up in the house many times.

now I worry ...

ps - my word verification is "gremi" - lol

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry but I started cracking up when I read this. I can just picture the total craziness of it all. I am thinking that maybe 20 years from now, you will look back on that moment and just start laughing!!

P.S. I do think that thing is pretty creepy.

sdgfnp said...

This is precisely why we have this group! :)

Loved your post!!