So, there is this thing called Elf on the Shelf.
Oh, wait, you have heard of it?
Skip ahead a bit then.
For those of you new to the phenomemon, let me give you a little back story: The Elf of the Shelf is this magical creature who comes all the way from
The North Pole Barnes and Noble to live in your house for some period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our elf always arrives on December the 1st, but I do know lots of people who welcome theirs the day after Thanksgiving. I like to believe that “Little Elf” (the moniker chosen for our elf…we are nothing if not out of the box thinkers in our house!) knows that I can only handle so many days of magical, mysterious, original hiding spots!
Unlike Lisa, who has a bit of a
love/hate hate/hate relationship with her elf, I actually enjoy the elf. Don’t get me wrong, I grumble and moan and complain as much as possible about it, but in the end I am glad we do it. My kids love Little Elf and delight at getting to find him each morning in our house. Thanks to my hubby’s masterful elf surgical skills, our elf actually has tiny magnets in his hands, which allow him to go places not normally possible.
For some reason, though, this year I am feeling the pressure of the elf in a way that I have not before. And actually, it is not for some reason, it is for THE reason. The one that I can barely think about without getting choked up, and the one that I really don’t want to acknowledge out loud. But, I will, because I know those of you who have experienced this will help me. I really feel like this is Emma’s last year to truly believe. SOB.
I can already see that the cracks in the foundation of her magical thinking are appearing. She is starting to ask questions without actually wanting the answers. You know how you can just tell with your child when they truly want to know the truth and then you also know when they need to believe a little while longer. That is where we are. And as ready as I think I am to have the conversation with her (I have actually been saving this blog post for the last year and a half because it so perfectly states what I want to say), the thought of actually doing it breaks my heart.
Knowing that all of that, I feel the presence of the elf more intensely. I find myself on Pinterest almost daily pinning various ways the elf can be hidden that will most certainly bring a smile to my children’s faces…something, I might add that is not always easy to do at o’ dark thirty on a school morning. Based on all of the sites I have pinned, I could have our Little Elf come in September and STILL not run out of ideas.
So, you might be asking, what is the point of this post then? After all, it sounds like you have a solid plan and are properly motivated by the fact that your first born should have an especially magical Christmas season, so tell us Ashley, what are you actually trying to say?
Y’all, my early morning, just after the kids leave for school, sipping a hot cup of coffee, blissfully browsing the interwebs self looks quite different from my post bedtime, nerves frayed, just want to be left alone with my TiVo remote and my Draw Something on the iPod self. Shocking, I know, right?
It turns out that come 8:00 p.m. I am not in much of a mood to be clever or crafty. I look around the kitchen and think about the possibility of having Little Elf cleverly posed with some homemade mini pancakes and a spatula and find myself wondering if sticking him in that morning’s leftover toast crumbs would create the same illusion.
Or sure, how fun would it be to have him write all over the bathtub walls with our tub crayons? Guess what, y’all, I can’t even find a blank space on the tile walls because the kids already write on them ALL.THE.TIME. And obviously, removing the writing would involve actual cleaning, like with a sponge and scrubbing.
One of the ideas I keep seeing involves having the elf (maybe to show your children what naughty looks like?) wrap the entire toilet in wrapping paper. Given that I can’t wrap a CD without an entire roll of tape and two helpers, I am pretty sure my attempt at wrapping up our toilet would lead to a midnight emergency plumbing call.
So, I find myself doing what I always do. Just putting Little Elf somewhere and calling it a night. His magnetic hands do allow placement in some stranger places, but really, how many times is it acceptable to wake up to find the elf hanging from the chandelier? I mean without a naked Barbie or three alongside him to justify his swinging?
All of this then makes me feel guilty because I am too tired/lazy/unmotivated to make Christmas special for my older daughter (or in turn her younger sister). I have Elf Mom Guilt.
But then I talked it through with Lisa and came to the realization that if I suddenly switched things up and became an Elf Super Mom that would be even MORE suspicious to my children.
Like for four years the Elf basically moves from spot to spot year after year and then all of the sudden he is outside building a miniature tree fort from popsicle sticks? Or he goes from sitting next to Barbie in the pink convertible to riding shotgun in a car completely made from Legos?
They would notice that something wasn’t right, wouldn’t they? I mean, Little Elf is who he is. They love him. Who am I to think I should change him from a perfectly average elf doing his thing to some Martha Stewart wanna be that tries just a little too hard?
So now I’m thinking if I want to do right by my girls and keep the magic alive, I have only one choice. Let Little Elf be Little Elf. It’s for the children, y’all.